We rarely have dull days around the sign shop, and yesterday we received a request for a long time satisfied customer at the local Chevrolet dealership. He needed to advertise four sizes of tires, with a “Good”, “Better”, and “Best” option. These tires would be on display in the service drive area of the dealership. I was presented with the necessary copy and was told to “get busy-we need these before closing time today”. Ok, deadlines can be met….so back to work I go!
Since the copy was rather “bland”, I decided to spice up the design of the inserts to include a “tire tread” pattern, which would include the name of the vehicles that could use this particular size of tire.
The top radius lettering would include the size of each wheel, and the bottom message under the tire tread print would designate a “good”, “better”, or “best” grade of tire – along with the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. We designed twelve of these individually unique PVC tire inserts, and now it’s time to turn those designs into digital prints.
Step one would be to create the base art files. I located a tire tread pattern from one of my electronic clip art files, sized it to each wheel diameter, and then enhanced the tread with some bevel and embossing techniques in Photoshop.
Step two would involve the copy for the upper radius of the insert, which would be the designated wheel size. This copy would be red, for maximum attention. Right under the size of tire designation, I dropped in the tire tread pattern, along with the names of the applicable cars or trucks that would use the size of tire shown on the inserts. Below the tire tread pattern, I dropped in a clip art ribbon with the words “Good”, “Better” or “Best”. Right below the designated ribbons, we listed the price for that given tire.
All the print files were created in my design program, color filled, and saved as an .eps file. Each .eps file was opened in Adobe Illustrator, color corrected, and assigned a cutting path outline – through the Roland VersaWorks program. This path is stroked with the Roland designated cut color, saved once again, and closed.
To print these nice tire inserts, I opened the Roland VersaWorks® program and imported each and every print file. I verified each file size to make sure each printed and cut insert would fit on the pvc insert for each size of tire. Needless to say, each print was contour cut to fit each different size of PVC inserts, and they all fit very well, with zero trimming required!
I selected an “air release” vinyl for the printing, because when working with pvc and aluminum substrates, the air release material goes down flat and smooth…with zero bubbles. Since we have four different sizes of tires on display, and a “good”, “better”, and “best” version of each size, we will need twelve unique digitally printed pvc plastic inserts to complete the project.
Each individual file was opened in Adobe Illustrator, color checked, and given a perimeter cut path which will be used in the Roland VersaWorks program. This very nice feature allows the Roland VP- 540 to be a cutter as well as an awesome digital printing workhorse of a machine.
Once a cut path has been created, it can be resized as needed within the original artwork. So if you ever need a scaled down version, or a scaled up version of any cut contour file, you have it in a few clicks.
We need three printed inserts for each of four different sizes of tires offered, for a total of twelve unique digital prints. We also need twelve circular PVC tire inserts. Since twelve or less circles are required, rather than assigning the print files for router cutting, we chose to use our “supersize” drywall compass, fitted with a large X-acto knife. Of course .125” pvc cuts very easily, and for thicknesses greater than .125”….use your router! Be sure to drill a .25” hole in the exact center of each pvc insert.
Now our Roland digitally printed decals are cut and ready for installation on the pvc inserts. Each insert is sprayed with glass cleaner, dried, and placed flat on the table. Each digitally printed insert is now adhered to the designated pvc circle. A quick rubdown with a felt squeegee secures the prints to their semi rigid substrates. Now it’s time to attach these advertising signs to the respective tires.
To attach the printed advertisements to each tire, we cut 12 pieces of .125” mill finish aluminum, and drilled a .25” hole in the center of each piece. To join the mill finish aluminum plate to the circular PVC sign panel, we used .25” carriage bolts and wing nuts. Insert the carriage bolt through the pvc printed circular sign, through the aluminum back plate, and attach a wing nut…tightened securely.
This is a fairly “low tech” way to add any advertising message to any tire displayed in the Parts or Service departments of any dealership. Ask your customers and clients if they could use digital printed advertising inserts for various occasions during the year. Who knows…you could create a set of different messages for every month of the year. Advertising pays….for both you and your customer!