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Wrapped Ensemble


Instrument Wraps Set the Stage for Kelly Clarkson


By Cassandra Balentine


Part 2 of 2


Located in historic Franklin, TN—South of Nashville—12-Point SignWorks was established in 2008. The six-employee shop is a full-service sign and design company offering custom-designed signs based on its customers’ needs and ideas.


Most of the company’s work consists of either wraps or some form of dimensional signage for business branding. Its wrap work varies from vehicles to custom wall murals, or fulfilling non-traditional wrap requests, such as instruments, ATM or vending machines, and golf carts. Most of these jobs are for local clients, while the dimensional branding signage presents an opportunity to service clients nationwide, including both interior and exterior signs using a variety of materials such as acrylic, metals, vinyl, and glass. “We enjoy the challenge of taking a client’s logo and creating a three-dimensional presentation to dress up their lobby, reception area, and conference rooms,” says Murray Johns, owner, 12-Point SignWorks.


12-Point SignWorks relies on its Roland DGA Corporation VersaCAMM VP-540i eco-solvent printer, which is used daily for a variety of products including short-term signage, such as vinyl banners, foamboard signs, and posters; kiss-cut decals; office signage graphics; translucent sign faces; and wraps and murals for walls, windows, and vehicles.


Most of the shop’s graphics are installed by its staff if it is within the greater Nashville area. The company employs wrap installers that are certified by Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions. Johns says that there have been occasions where the company partners with another company for an installation if lift equipment is required.


Experts in the Untraditional

According to Johns, the company has been printing and installing wraps for five years. “The untraditional wrap projects started coming to us almost right away,” says Johns. He notes that these include musical instruments—several pianos and an upright bass; a solar-powered trash compactor; small personal vehicles—such as jet skis, ATVs, golf carts, and street bikes; ATMs; racing seats; an electric scooter; helmets; construction barricade walls; and cubicle walls. “The untraditional wrap projects are at times more difficult than regular vehicles, but they give us the opportunity to develop new techniques that ultimately help us with more standard graphic installations,” he adds.


Many of the untraditional wrap projects involve objects that are smaller than vehicles, but still have several surfaces to be wrapped. “Some of the surface geometry is quite complex, and others have hardware that is best removed for the sake of a better quality installation,” he explains.


For example, a jet ski wrap that was done in satin black required removing the bumper trim and the seat hardware, as well as wrapping down into the deep foot wells. “Paying attention to details such as these can become quite time consuming, so having a conversation with the client regarding finishing details and the associated costs before starting the wrap is critical to making the project profitable,” says Johns.


On Air

One of 12-Point SignWorks most popular jobs was an instrumental wrap for pop star Kelly Clarkson. “We were contacted by Clarkson’s agency to explore the possibility of wrapping a piano and a small upright bass for her upcoming 2013 Christmas special, which was to be televised on NBC,” recalls Johns. Because of the holiday theme of the program, the agency was especially interested in achieving a bright, red color for both instruments. The piano and bass were the key components of the band ensemble for this event.


For this particular application, there was no need for graphic design. However, Johns says it did have to tap into some of its best practices for wrap techniques.


The client looked at the wrap vinyl options from both 3M Commercial Graphics and Avery Dennison. In the end, it chose a bright red option from 3M.


For the installation, the 12-Point SignWorks team used many of its traditional wrap techniques and tools, such as squeegees protected with felt. “We did use knifeless tape, in particular on the upright bass, to follow the contours and give us a nice cutline without having to cut on the instrument with a knife,” says Johns. “One of our team members is a professional musician, and he was familiar with how to disassemble and reassemble the bass so that we could minimize the number of seams in the vinyl.”


The application was only intended for the short-term filming of the TV program, even though the longevity of the media is rated for much longer. Kelly Clarkson’s team loved the outcome. “We’d like to think that the hundreds of thousands who watched this nationally televised program also enjoyed it. I know our team did!” says Johns. He notes that he received a stream of text messages the night the program aired to congratulate him on a job well done.


“We certainly enjoy these unique challenges, and we hope to have more opportunities in the future with both color change and digitally printed creative graphics,” he concludes.


Business as Unusual

Companies like 12-Point SignWorks and Beasly Digital stand out by offering unique items in addition to core product offerings. By transferring skills obtained from wrapping walls and vehicles, these companies add revenue and appeal by offering out-of-the-the box items from boats and tables to ATMs, vending machines, and instruments.


Click here to read part one of this exclusive online series, On a Boat.

Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article.

Apr2014, Digital Output DOUW1404

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