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  • Writer's pictureJason Price

Race car livery top tips!

So you have a shiny new race car…but how do you make it ‘look’ as fast as it goes?

There are many considerations when deciding on a livery for your car, which go far beyond the design alone… here are some of the key points. Let’s dive straight in…

How to find a Graphic Designer

Finding the right Graphic Designer for your team is no mean feat. The motorsport world travels fast and having someone on board who is committed and prepared to put in the hours will be of huge value.

So, always be honest with the potential candidate. We designers are used to long hours, but in this industry those hours can run into months of long days and nights. So it’s important to be open and transparent about this side of the work… it is not all glamourous!

Your potential Graphic Designer doesn’t have be a petrol head, but a keen interest in motorsport can be a bonus. Understanding the shape and form of cars takes practise… an A5 leaflet is far removed from the ‘exciting’ shapes of a McLaren 720s. If you can find someone who is good at both… then that’s a win! A Graphic Designer who is resilient, resourceful and can juggle many balls at once, will be a valuable asset to your team.

Manufacturing your livery

So, you have decided on an all-singing, all-dancing fully printed livery, great! But does your repair budget carry the cost of reprints when the unfortunate ‘racing incidents’ happen?

Printed vehicle liveries are a feast for the eyes, granted, but the costs can spiral out of control easily. Complicated designs can also cause issues when fitting up spares that are ‘off the car’. The range of finishes of coloured films is ever-growing, but the more sparkly your materials, the more costly it will be. A clever use of simple colours and print in limited areas can achieve the same results as a fully printed livery.

The range of materials available in the market is huge and the cost variants reflect this. Companies such as 3M and Avery Dennison manufacture high-end materials that have long exterior lifespans – these are fantastic for a road car but unnecessary for a race car. There are other manufacturers out there that have a great range at a lesser cost per linear metre, and are more suitable to short term applications. This helps keep your budgets down across an entire race season.

And now the fitting

So what do you need look for in a vehicle graphics company? Well, first of all, are they prepared for phone calls at 5pm on a Friday? The very familiar “Can you get to Silverstone tomorrow before 9am with a full livery to refit – we had an ‘incident’ in shakedown” request needs to be accommodated. Briefing your potential vehicle graphics company up-front on the demands of the job is essential so there are no surprises along the way.

There are some great companies out there who are well versed in this world and geared to deal with the ‘Team Manager calls’. Unfortunately there are also some that will be only too happy to take on a contract with you and then not be available when needed. Choose wisely and brief them fully.

Something to consider to ease this issue further, is sending one of your team on a course to learn vehicle livery fitting. Having an in-house team member that can do this on a race weekend is a godsend when you’ve got yourself in a pickle!

Caring for graphics

When you are on track and graphics need replacing at speed, here’s a top tip for you! Having an A1 portfolio case with sleeves labelled with each part of the car, will prevent the need to be wasting time rummaging around in the bottom of a toolbox for spare graphics which then end up creased and covered in oil! Label them like a boss, and you’ll find it even easier to order more spares from your vehicle graphics company when needed.

So there we have it! A whistle-stop tour of graphic and vehicle livery design. If this has inspired you to up your livery game, here’s how we can work together to achieve the results your team deserve:

• Book a consultation call here

• Drop me a line

• Join my email list here


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