Behind the Scenes: West Coast Van Wrap
Ever wonder what all goes into putting graphics onto a Sprinter van? Turns out, quite a bit. We just asked our friends at Stowebridge in AZ to wrap a new van for us, set the GoPro to time-lapse, and answer a few questions. Ready to turn the family minivan into the Scoobie Doo Mystery Machine or maybe something a little weirder? Here's the process.
Stan's NoTubes: Last month you wrapped the latest addition to the fleet of Stan's vehicles attending events and supporting athletes throughout the country. How many hours did that wrap take compared to the first wrap you ever took on?
Ron Stowebridge: There are several steps involved in the process of wrapping a vehicle.
Art: The Stan’s Van was fairly easy, you all provided exact specs of what you wanted. So there was less than an hour of art time involved. Most people don’t know exactly what they want so it will usually involve 4-6 hours of art time.
Printing: There was about 3 hours of printing time to print the graphics for the Stans Van. If the same van had vinyl applied to the entire surface, the printing time would have been about 8 hours.
Vinyl Prep: Cutting, Weeding, Masking. There was about 2 hours of vinyl prep for the Stan’s van.
Vinyl install: There was about 5 hours of install time for the Stan’s Van. If the same vehicle had been wrapped on the entire surface, It would have taken 10-12 hours.
SNT: When a customer drives a vehicle into your shop, and you're faced with a completely blank slate, how do you begin the wrap process?
RS: We usually don’t see the vehicle until we are ready to wrap it. We have a program that has templates for every make and model of vehicle from the 1960’s to the current date. Even though there is about 4-6 hours of design time, it usually takes several days to get a final approved design. We start out by finding out what the vehicle is being used for and any ideas the owner has for design. There are generally about 4-5 revisions to get to a final approved proof. After the design is approved we schedule the install and move on to the printing, prep, and install.
SNT: We think most people would be surprised at the cost of the vinyl needed to wrap an entire van, we know that we were. Roughly, what would you estimate the cost of the vinyl required for a full wrap to be?
RS: Every vehicle is different than the next. Once we get the wrap designed, the Vehicle Template program will tell us how much vinyl will be needed to complete the project. the cost of the installed wrap will be about $13 to $15 per sq ft, depending on how much art time and complexity of the install. Less expensive vinyls can be used, but they usually involve more install time and will not last as long. The vinyl’s we use are considered to be a 7-10 year vinyl, however in the Arizona sun, we recommend replacing the vinyl before 5 years if the vehicle is outside most of the time.
SNT: What is the most surprising thing a customer has ever asked you to put on a vehicle
RS: We also screen print and embroider t-shirts and hats. We have been asked to print some weird stuff on those items, but most of the vehicle wraps are used for advertising and I can’t remember anything that was too unusual.
For over 25 years, Stowebridge, a marketing company, has provided their customers with a unique design experience while producing quality promotional products. Choosing to focus on building lasting, meaningful relationships with their clients, Stowebridge has become our go-to partner for most Stan's event swag.
Who's going to be driving this second West Coast van? Stay tuned for an interview with Adam Snyder, the latest edition to the team at Stan's NoTubes.