By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Food truck wraps are an effective method for marketing mobile food business. But print service providers (PSPs) that offer food truck graphics must prepare the vehicle prior to wrap installation. Vehicles may be damaged or stained with dirt and other debris. Part two of this series features a print shop that’s offered food truck graphics for ten years.
Houston Car Wraps
Colortech Direct is a family owned and operated business founded in 1974 in Houston, TX. The shop produces business cards, brochures, booklets, manuals, trade show signage, vehicle lettering and wraps, posters, storefront graphics, and banners. The applications are produced in house in a 3,000 square foot facility with five employees.
The PSP focuses on providing exceptional customer service. Its goal is to build personal relationships with each customer and become a guidance and consultation source to ensure every project’s result is accomplished with the client’s marketing and branding objectives.
The shop started as an office supply company and added a printing press in 1982. Today, Colortech Direct is a digital print shop with large format capabilities.
To print banners and project overflow, the shop uses a Mutoh America Inc. ValueJet printer. All the shop’s vehicle wraps, retractable banners, posters, and point of purchase signs are printed on a Roland DGA Corporation SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640 printer.
Colortech Direct creates wraps in Adobe Systems Incorporated Illustrator or Photoshop depending on the intricacy. To aid in design, it works with Art Station Vehicle Templates, mostly for vehicle lettering and full coverage wraps.
“Art Station Vehicle Templates is a reliable source and helps us when we need it most,” says Mike Harris, vehicle wrap expert, Colortech Direct.
According to Harris, the software helps the shop save time and money by returning estimates quickly and starting production without the customer having to bring in the vehicle. “When we begin laying vinyl, we use printouts of the approved design and are rarely off from what the template shows,” he adds.
The Food Truck Boom
Colortech Direct started offering food truck graphics in 2007. There are currently two food truck parks near the shop’s workspace. Harris says the food truck boom is a big hit in the neighborhood.
The shop offers full and partial coverage vehicle wraps. This includes professional in-house custom design, vinyl accents, paint wraps, reflective vinyl accents, and installation. For food trucks looking for accent advertising, the shop also offers lettering and logos, window coverage, custom magnets, tailgate wraps, and spirit decals.
Colortech Direct uses 3M Commercial Solutions’ Controltac Graphic Film with Comply v3 Adhesive IJ180Cv3 and 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8518 for food truck graphics. 3M Controltac Graphic Film with Comply v3 Adhesive IJ180Cv3 is a two-mil cast vinyl film that stretches up to 130 percent without primer and no lift. If stretched too far or repositioning is needed, the film recovers with heat.
3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8518 is a two-mil film that enhances gloss and provides ultraviolet and durable physical protection for graphics. It is designed for cold roll lamination and is pressure sensitive. “We’ve had good experience and results with the 3M brand,” says Harris.
It typically takes seven to ten days for Colortech Direct to complete a food truck job from submittal to installation. The main challenges involve making sure the vehicles are clean. Harris says that some of the older vehicles have dirt and grease that must be removed prior to laying vinyl, which prolongs the installation process.
Wraps for All Sizes
Print providers go the extra mile to ensure food truck signage is executed precisely, from design to installation. But a great design and an expert installer only gets the graphic so far. It’s important for PSPs to consider the best printers, software, and films to create satisfying food truck graphics.
May2017, Digital Output