By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Print service providers (PSPs) that offer vehicle wraps enter the food truck niche to expand sales. Because food trucks are a mobile business, it’s important for PSPs to accurately integrate the client’s design demands for efficient branding. Part one of this two-part series features a print shop that offers wraps for a community of food trucks.
Established in 2007, Baltimore Graphics is based in Baltimore, MD. The print shop offers custom apparel, business printing, logo and brand design, signage, vehicle wraps, wall wraps, and web design.
The shop started with two print industry designers in a 1,200 square foot garage. “We found ourselves wanting to run and operate a bit differently than what we had previously experienced and with a similar vision of what could be, we joined forces and set up shop,” says Ben Gonzales, co-owner, Baltimore Graphics.
At first the company’s focus was vehicle graphics, offset printing, screenprinting, and embroidery. But, Baltimore Graphics soon became known for quality vehicle graphics. “Many of our clients lacked proper branding and our design work often gave us an edge,” admits Gonzales.
Today, a team of seven works out of a 4,000 square foot facility. The print department houses a 54-inch Roland DGA Corporation SOLJET Pro III XC-540 printer/cutter, a CJV150-130 Mimaki USA, Inc. printer/cutter, and 60-inch Graphtec America, Inc. cutter.
“We went with Mimaki to try something different but also because we were really impressed with the color gamut,” shares Gonzales.
Baltimore Graphics offers wraps for food trucks. The greatest benefit of offering food truck wraps, in Gonzales’ opinion, is that it is a specific, targeted market and increases vehicle graphic sales. “The food truck community seems to be a growing phenomenon. What’s cool about these projects is that they’re not so corporate. There is usually a ton of room to be creative and fun,” he continues.
According to Gonzales most food trucks are older vehicle models. This creates a challenge when addressing rust, body damage, cheap repair and paint jobs, and removal of previous graphics. Because of this, Baltimore Graphics never quotes on the phone and surveys each vehicle first.
“We make sure we manage a client’s expectations when vehicles have problematic areas but also offer a variety of solutions that provide options on how to address each problem cost effectively,” adds Gonzales.
Charming Nomad, an Asian and Afghan food truck catering to the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area, approached Baltimore Graphics for a wrap on a recently purchased vehicle. The client overhauled its kitchen equipment and wanted a design that would stand out in the area’s growing food truck scene.
Baltimore Graphics helped Charming Nomad choose its business name and the design work quickly followed. “We knew that the truck alone couldn’t tell the story, so we put together a plan that would allocate a portion of the budget to designing the brand and the rest went into a partial wrap,” explains Gonzales. The surface of the truck was in poor condition and a partial wrap was decided as the best solution.
The owner suggested an Afghan nomad theme to tie her personal background into the business. “She described nomads as colorful and resourceful people that handcrafted everything from clothing to food,” says Gonzales.
Baltimore Graphics’ creative designer hand sketched several ideas before deciding on the final version of the logo. However, several days later the food truck owner returned with the vehicle painted lime green—not what the original design was based off of. “It was a bit of a shock at first and we were challenged with building from this new color palette. We soon realized it was perfect for the brand’s nomad theme,” explains Gonzales.
The food truck’s text and graphics were printed on ORAJET 3751RA from Orafol Americas. It is a wrapping cast film with RapidAir Technology intended for long-term outdoor signage and complex vehicle and fleet graphics. The film is durable for eight years, is solvent based, and features a permanent low initial tack adhesive.
Baltimore Graphics color matched the lime green truck to wrap the inset area while minimizing the need to weed and tape. The logo is placed slightly below the mid rail to give the illusion that the food truck is a full wrap.
The entire job took roughly two weeks from brand design to wrap installation. Charming Nomad was pleased with the outcome. Baltimore Graphics did an excellent job on the vehicle wrap and was accommodating, professional, and patient, according to the owner of the food truck.
Shops like Baltimore Graphics offer food truck graphics to broaden vehicle wrap profits. In this niche, vehicles may be rusted, damaged, or poorly repaired. PSPs must tackle these challenges to produce a satisfying presentation for their clients’ mobile business.
Part two of this series highlights a print shop that also produces food truck graphics for food truck parks.
May2017, Digital Output