Recently, I was given the chance to lay out graphics for a 2013 Ford Raptor. Like any other template, I found an illustrated outline matching closely to the vehicle and applied graphics to it. Since critical graphics components do not serve a purpose behind an emblem, I believe an illustrated outline is a great way to determine where emblems and door seams end up. However, I soon realized that outlines are not ideal in determining the actual contours of a vehicle.
As some of you may not realize, a Ford Raptor is a Baja version of a standard F150. Not only is it built for an off-road experience, but it also has dramatic curves and contours giving it an aggressive appeal. Before making my template, I had not seen the Ford Raptor in a while, so it was helpful to hear about the look of the truck and see photographs of the vehicle. However, I wish I had seen it in person before the graphics went to production. I did have the opportunity to take a field trip to see the application process once everything was said and done. And, did my vehicle template compare to the actual truck? To answer quickly, it was a rude awakening…but let me give you the details.
When I showed up to see this beautiful truck undergo a transformation to make it even more dramatic with the graphics I had created, I wasn’t worried. I was confident I gave enough bleed to encompass the entire vehicle. But as I was watching the printed sheets coming out of the carton, I started to get a little concerned…are those panels really going to cover each and every curve of this truck? At which point, I really wanted to go into my vehicle and hide, but I had to be a big girl and watch the graphics get set up to be applied to the truck. It was no longer looking like the truck it was when I first saw it…and now it was increasingly becoming my nemesis. The bleeds that I supplied looked as though they would just barely accommodate the curves and not the entire vehicle. Luckily for me, I did not have to watch the entire process, which helped the sinking feeling in my stomach. However, I was expecting a phone call stating the curves got the better of me. To my relief, they did not, and I have the video of the application process to prove it. Nevertheless, this experience has shown me that I cannot always be so lucky with relying merely on illustrated outlines. It’s better to take a field trip prior to the production of graphics to be safe, than to just show up to the application process and be sorry.