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Loud and Fast Rules

(March 2010) posted on Mon Feb 22, 2010

Bluemedia pumps up the volume for an audio-component purveyor.

By Darren Wilson

click an image below to view slideshow

Having designed more than 5,000 custom wraps, the bluemedia team has decorated its share of cool cars. Tempe, AZ-based Rockford Corp., a designer, marketer and distributor of high-performance systems for the mobile-audio aftermarket and OEM automotive and marine applications, asked about creating vehicle wraps to rev up its branding. David Slepak, Rockford’s senior marketing manager, sought a powerful fleet-graphics program that could be implemented throughout its worldwide dealer network. Our response: pump up the volume!

David stated his intentions clearly from the beginning: “Our goal is to build a consistent graphic style that could be implemented on a variety of unique vehicles throughout the world. We have a deep network of dealers and loyal consumers. These graphics need to represent Rockford’s passion, products and dedication to our industry.”


How should loud look?

Chris Keal, bluemedia’s art director, met with David to understand his promotional and branding objectives. He created an obscure background design that comprises flat and 3-D logos and depictions of some of Rockford’s products. Keal subtly blended the objects’ textures into black and red layers that provide a nice backdrop for the dominant logo that covers the vehicle nearly from bumper to bumper. The design offers the dual appeal of stopping power from a distance, and depth and complexity up close.


To establish our framework, bluemedia always creates a 1:10-scale, vector template of each vehicle that capturers the unique contours and curves of each application. We used Adobe Photoshop® and Illustrator® to develop our graphic solution. We implemented Onyx’s Production House™ 6.5 RIP to translate the design into the printer’s program. Finding the right RIP for your shop is an equation of color-profile variety, speed, flexibility and functionality.


Fabrication thoughts

We output the graphics on one of our HP TurboJet solvent printers on 3M™’s Controltac™ IJ-1080C film with Comply® embossed-adhesive technology. We also operate HP, Scitex, VUTEk, Océ, Epson and Sharp printers in our facility. The size and specific application’s conditions dictate what machine we use. Capacity and warranty also influence our decisions.

For our first installation, we wrapped a 2010 Suzuki Kazashi. New-generation, air-egress adhesives provide an installation godsend because they allow easy repositioning. We’re now using 3M’s v3 embossed-adhesive formulation, which was developed for installation on deeper contours. It’s a little thinner than previous Comply films, and it requires a little more careful handling.


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