Bringing a Sled Wrap Design to Life
Any product that doesn’t increase either the reliability or performance of your machine is hardly essential to ensuring your sled makes it home at the end of a ride. The naysayers figure that money used on a sled wrap design would be better spent on engine mods or other performance parts. And while that may hold true for some folks, more and more sledders are finding a reason to wrap their machine.
Some sledders enjoy standing out from the crowd with the personalized, original look of a unique sled wrap design. After all, who doesn’t enjoy having a stranger check out their sled and say, “WOW!” Others choose a wrap to protect the paint; or to help keep snow from sticking to an unpainted tunnel. For supported riders, a wrap gets the logos of their sponsors on display and helps fulfill contractual obligations. Others use a wrap to promote their own product or business.
Whether they wrap or not, sledders seem to have polarized opinions on sled wrap designs. Much like a tattoo, a sled wrap design can showcase personal taste and preference. Some look good, while others don’t seem to work. But, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
The Sled Wrap Design Process
Personally, I have always liked the custom look of wraps. Yet, until recently, I’ve never actually purchased one. But I have had ideas in my mind of what I did and didn’t like—a picture inspired by some of the wraps I’ve seen and my own preferences.
When I decided to go for it, I contacted a designer. I was able to send him photos of the styles I was interested in as a starting point. I also sent a picture of my sled so he would know what base colours and accents we would be working with. Once he had all of that information, I trusted him run with it. The way I see it, the designer is the pro. They know how each drawing or feature will fit on to each panel. When it comes down to creating the sled wrap design, I really would advise against micro-managing your designer.
As the proofs came back, I did have the opportunity have input and make some adjustments on things that I wouldn’t have been able to imagine before seeing the illustrations.
The final proof approval is, or can be, terrifying—how will your sled wrap design really look in person? It’s hard to know what will look good on snow compared to the proof on a computer screen. All the more reason to find a reputable designer who can help you work out the fine details, such as logo sizing and placement. Once you hit the “Approved” button, it’s too late to go back. You’ve made the final decision.
By this point I had crawled over the design of my wrap in every possible way, and I was pretty confident in my choices. Yet I still experienced a level of anxiety with the finality of sending it off to print. With the design locked in, the waiting to see my sled in her new clothes for the first time was agonizing.
Installation is another matter entirely. Some sledders like to do it themselves, painstakingly applying each piece, and enjoying (or not) the time spent. A complete wrap has dozens and dozens of separate individual pieces and the installation is an art form in itself.
I opted to let the pros do the job, using their experience and expertise to be certain of a proper job. Not only are they practiced at the alignment and accuracy, they also know how to best make it adhere, ensuring a good-looking and long-lasting job.
Installation is something that many guys do themselves, and if you take your time it absolutely can be a DYI job. But that is up to you and your comfort level.
Sled Wrap Design Advice from a Pro
I talked to Cole, one of the designers from The Decal Den, to get some insight on how to turn your imagination into sled wrap design reality. If you decide to wrap your sled, you’ll want to be happy with the results! Here are Cole’s thoughts to help make the process successful:
- Have an idea what you want. We get folks all the time who come to us with the mentality of “I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know what I don’t like when I see it.”
- Be patient. Designing and printing a wrap is a labour-intensive and time-consuming process.
- Avoid buzzwords like, “Make it pop”; “I want it to look cool”; or “Think outside the box.” These types of statements don’t do anything to clarify what you’re actually looking for.
- You get what you pay for. Don’t be surprised when that wrap you bought super cheap on eBay is destroyed on your first day out.
- Do your homework. Is the wrap company reputable and experienced? What are their customers saying about them?
Cut, Print, That’s a Wrap
Creating your own sled wrap design is a personal decision and one that is made with growing popularity. I likened it earlier to getting a tattoo—no one can tell you what you like or don’t like, or your reason for getting one.
Also like a tattoo, wrapping your sled is addictive! Once you get the first one, your mind’s gears will immediately start turning with plans for the next one. I already have design ideas for my next wrap and this one doesn’t even have tree sap on it yet. Ok, maybe there’s a little bit.