PDAA Master Certification Testing


The SGIA and the PDAA will be conducting their next testing on December 6, 2013 in Kansas City, MO

If you are looking to increase your skills and visibility in the wrap industry then we highly recommend attending Rob Ivers’ next class and certification testing.

To sign-up you need to register online here for the PDAA Master Certified session

I also highly encourage you to review the PDAA testing and skill requirements here.

WrapperMapper is spreading around the world


The Wrapper Mapper idea for finding Professional Wrap Installers is most definitely getting attention.  After 1 month of going live, I am very pleased to see the word starting to spread across the globe.  In the first 30 days we have received applications from Australia, England, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark and even South Africa.  The ultimate goal is to empower the industry by connecting wrap installers to the companies that need their skills and expertise.  Whether you need one Ford Transit wrapped in Des Moines Iowa or a fleet of delivery trucks fit across the UK… Mapper Wrapper makes it easy to get together.

Thanks to everyone who has signed up so far and please help us spread the word…!!!

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Professional Wrap installer… why not do it yourself?

What?!  Those national wrap installers charge WAY too much!  This can’t be too hard.  It’s just sticky vinyl.  I can do this.

Look, despite our natural skepticism of other’s skills and firm belief in our own abilities, there are multiple reasons why wrap installation professionals ARE considered professionals.  Let us count the ways…

1. Experience: The high-end professional wrap installers have spent thousands of hours practicing their skills.  They have handled miles of vinyl.  They have run hundreds of thousands of strokes with various squeegees and tools.  They have pulled, pushed, tightened and relaxed untold amounts of films.  In short, this doesn’t happen overnight nor by accident.  A professional wrap installer has put in an immense amount of time to make it look just that easy.

2. Knowledge: Your average skilled professional wrap installer can tell within 2 two strokes if the film is laying correctly.  He or she can tell instantly, by touch, if the film is laminated or not.  They can immediately smell if a print has been laminated too quickly and whether or not this will cause extra aggression in the adhesive tac.  They know which way the seams should go, how they should line  up and where to position them for the best finished look.  How do you correct an alignment issue?  How do you position a bumper section?  How do you correctly trim body panel seams?  What is the proper angle to wrap a door handle?  Disassemble the side mirrors… tail lights…?  There are a multitude of ways to mess up a wrap install and a professional installer has a huge jump on knowing just what they are.

3. Certifications: There are multiple certification systems available in the wrap industry.  The best ones focus on experience, accountability and skill.  The UASG – United Application Standards Group for example, requires that an applicant be able to prove at least three years of wrap installations before they are allowed to apply for certification.  This guideline, combined with an actual shop inspection, in-process project observations and verification of business accountability, makes sure a shop is ready before they are even allowed to test.  The test itself consists of two days of intense hands-on, skill and specific project testing along with written practices, techniques and material knowledge assessments.  All-in-all it makes for a very comprehensive testing system.  Another excellent certification is the PDAA – Master Certified system which places a heavy focus on overall film knowledge and proper install techniques for a variety of film options.  Proper surface preparation all the way to correct finishing techniques for wrap longevity are tested and covered under the PDAA system.  These certification systems work hard to prove their competence.

4. Tools: Did you know that national wrap installation professionals have spent many hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, on EACH set of specialized tools for their crews?  The professional wrap installer has spent a lot of time and money purchasing specific blades, rollers and holders, tapes, squeegees and a variety of other specialized tools that are designed to make sure the wrap is done correctly.  These guys aren’t walking into a project with an x-acto knife and vinyl squeegee folks.  They take their job seriously and have invested heavily in the tools of their trade.

Just like a veteran woodcarver can make his knives move through oak like butter, and a martial arts master can make his spinning jump kick look effortless, a professional wrapper can make his job look easy.  BUT, it all comes as a result of tireless practice and endless dedication to perfecting their skills.  THIS is why you go with the professional wrap installer.

New Icon on Map for Wrapper Mapper Premium Members


The Wrapper Mapper is pleased to announce a new perk for all of our premium members.  In addition to the Contact Info, Live Web Links, Social Media tools and the customized Photo Gallery, we have now created a new custom map icon.

Here are the details…

1. The icon displays on every map view (both Home Page and the Big Map).

2. The icon is larger in size than the Free Listing which creates a more dominating map view.

3. The icon displays the “Premium Member” status.

4. The icon sets the Premium Members apart, creating a more visual indication that they are easily contacted thru the map.

This continues the goal of creating even more value for the shops choosing to upgrade to the Premium level for the incredibly low price of $8.33 per month.  We believe that this improvement builds on our desire to provide overwhelming benefits for the wrap shops and it helps keep the website self-sustaining.

Sign Up Here for your Premium Listing.

Thanks to Core Graphics in Tallahassee, FL for the excellent idea and their ongoing participation in the success of the WrapperMapper.com

Good Wrap Design is Important


If you are national wrap installer then it is likely you are listed on WrapperMapper and you install vinyl graphics on some nice new rides. The typical wrap installer is patient, detail oriented and can be trusted to hold a butane torch near a new R8.  Of course, Zen-like installation skills only go as far as the creativity of your wrap design.  So, how do you get good art for your customers?

Most wrap jobs are for commercial purposes.  You spot up the logo, the URL and a picture of the product.  Sounds easy right…?  Yeah, not so much.  A car is not a billboard or a piece of paper.  It has 2 sides, front back, a hood and a top.  So, from an art perspective you are designing a 3D project using 2D assets.  This 3D vehicle will be viewed from 8 angles at varying speeds.  The experience of seeing the car is the whole deal so whether the message is to “Eat at Joe’s”, “Drink this Water” or “We kill bugs” we have to help them catch eyeballs and create an impression.

Most people reading this are installers, not necessarily graphic designers.  If you aspire to be to be a master artist, you need to have a portfolio that is so strong you have no problem showing it to anybody at any time.  That means having at least 5000 hours (minimum) drawing time under your belt and a website that reflects your experience.  Next, learn Illustrator and PhotoShop so you can translate your ideas into print ready art.  Now the hardest part, you need to pick your customer’s brain to understand how to deliver their message effectively on the vehicle that is provided.

Here’s how I go about designing for a car.  A list and an example are a great place to start. What’s important to you? Who’s car do you like? What are some examples of your current brand?  What colors do you like?  Once you have all the information, get a picture of the car.   Here’s the cool method that an artist can use to design a ride.   As a traditional artist I like to draw in loose strokes in charcoal on paper.  Free form representations that follow the lines and curves that today’s cars have built in.  Using the film we have today we can use designs to accentuate the subtleties in cars, then take it off when the lease is over.

Many of you have an iPad. What you don’t know is that for about $30 you can set your self up to import a picture of a car and draw over the top of it with your iPad in a layer.  As an example, go to Graphics4Cars.com.  You will see a design called “Scribble” designed for the Hyundai Elantra.  The short story behind the design is that I was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago for a conference.  At that time I knew that I needed to get a new car so I took some pictures of a White Elantra in a parking lot with my iPad.  I imported the picture making a scribble which I then e-mailed to myself.  Later, after realizing how interesting my quick sketch looked, I re-drew it in vector right over my sketch in Illustrator.  We are wrapping the car this week to complete the process.

Here’s what you need if you want to sketch a design using your iPad.

• Sketch Club – I know the price is high, but you need the “Sketch Club” app from the App Store. It costs $2.99. This is great software that allows you to import a photo from your iPad library, then draw in layers using a stylus.

• Stylus – This is a stylus that I really like for drawing, the Musemee Notier V2. Amazon $16.99.

• A QwickDraw Microfiber Cleaner – a QwickDraw hooks around your pinky and allows drawing without “screen bounce”. $12 (free shipping)

The idea is give certified MapperWrappers the precise tools they need to install an eye-catching visual accent package on a specific car.  My goal is to have a design that takes about an hour a side to put on. I am starting with the Elantra, next will be the Honda Civic and the Hyundai Veloster.

Graphics4Cars.com designs and prepares art for automotive wraps. If your internal Michael Angelo or Di Vinci isn’t kicking in you can hire someone to do it for you.   You can get design work and film sent to you in a tube from ProSign&Graphics or Extreme Autowerks at a reasonable price.

Written By:  Mike Browne at mike@bigredshoes.com – Please contact me if you have tablet art or design questions.

WrapperMapper.com – Premium Membership Welcome

Here’s a shout out, and a big welcome to the newest Premium Members.  These shops have chosen to display their skills on the map.  Making it easier for customers to find you means more projects.


The Installation Department – Phoenix, AZ

Graphics Installations – Pittsburgh, PA

Pro Sign and Graphics – Columbus, OH

VSP Marketing –  West Seneca, NY

Blue Media – Tempe, AZ

Core Graphics –  Tallahassee, Florida



UASG Installers – 3M Certified Graphic Installation Company – ON THE MAP

When it comes to establishing standards in professional vinyl installations, the UASG is the United States first such organization in existence.  Shops with the United Application Standard Group’s mark of approval have invested years of experience and countless hours of practice to prove that they have a “a high level of professionalism, a proven track record, and a high level of hands-on installation skill”.  The best way to get information on the specifics of the UASG is to visit their site at http://www.uasg.org.

All of the UASG installers have been listed by their respective addresses on the map.  You can now run a search by Zip Code / Postal Code, filter by the UASG drop-down option and see every UASG shop within 50 miles.  Easy to find them and easy to use their skills.



PDAA Master Certified – Installers are on The Map

The national certification of the PDAA Master Certified is a recognized program in installation excellence.  With a focus on developing sound techniques, film knowledge and business accountability the PDAA has built an admirable group of wrap professionals.  With Wrapper Mapper we spent considerable time slogging thru the web, tracking down the PDAA Master Certified shops and entering each and every one of them into our map.  The end result… we now have an easy nationwide search resource for you.  If you prefer to work with the SGIA and the PDAA Master Certified installers then all you need to do is click PDAA Master Certified in the drop down menu.  The map will remove all others from the graphic and only display the Master Certified network.  Check out the Big Map now!

Beta Launch for WrapperMapper.com

Wow, all I can say is this is rolling fast, fast, fast.  What was initially an idea to help myself find other professional wrappers has turned into a sizable project.

So, the whole concept here is to just make it a lot easier for professional wrap installers to be found.  We all typically use maps when looking for potential vendors and it just made sense to put an actual map together to solve the problem.  If a print house in New York needs to find a 3M Certified Wrap Installation Company in Baton Rouge Louisiana… now they can…  easy… in about 5 seconds.

If a local franchise in Miami FL has just received a box of graphics, and they have no idea what to do with it, they can search their Zip Code and find all of the PDAA Master Certified guys within 50 miles… in about 5 seconds.

Wrap Installers, Print Houses, Sign Shops, Print Providers and end wrap customers can all use WrapperMapper.com to more easily connect with the guys who know what they are doing.