I met Chief Sowers of the Covington, Indiana Police Department, while he was waiting for his patrol car to receive graphics. We chatted for a few minutes, and he told me TKO Graphix had produced and installed the graphics on all the forces vehicles for several years. I later learned that he didn’t know that TKO does more than vehicle graphics.

The Chief had visited TKO’s Plainfield facility at least ½ dozen times. I asked if he’d ever taken a tour. He hadn’t and told me he would enjoy that.

It Starts in Design 

We began in our design department where I explained our staff of designers averaged more than 15 years’ experience. They specialize in getting the message delivered. With digital print, it’s easy to do too much and lose the message – not with our team. We drive your message home.

“Designing a three-dimensional graphic takes forethought, precision, and attention to detail. I remember a potential sponsor for an Indy car whose product came packaged in a bottle. Their creative team sent us a beautiful design for the race car with the bottle on the nose. Their design shared every view of the race car. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t work. The manager of our design team, showed me by using a 3D template how the design would appear on the car. You couldn’t tell it was a bottle. A total redesign was called for; it needed our teams touch. With vehicle graphic design—there’s more than meets the eye.” — 5 Keys to Vehicle Graphic Design.

Next, we visited screen print. Most large format printers have gone 100 % digital. And although TKO has state of the art digital printers we also have a screen print department. Here’s why:

Lower Cost on Large Production Runs

Setup is a large part of the screen print cost. The cost of a few prints may be too expensive but dividing the cost by 100 prints may be more cost-effective than digital. Got a lot of printing to do? Is it limited to one or two colors? You might do better with screen print.

Solid Colors Without Pixelation

Digital prints use dots-per-inch, or “dpi.” Modern printers run from 350 dpi to 1200 dpi. When printing spot colors, screen print is a solid lay-down of color. If you need something that will be looked at closely screen print can be a good option.

Color Matching

“Do you need to match a specific company color, paint swatch, or hue? Screen printing offers a larger color gamut, which can nail colors dead-on.” — Digital or Screen What Should You Use?

Cups, Pens, Hats, and More

After that, we stopped in our promotional product division, TKO Marketing Solutions and looked at cups, pins, hats, shirts, and more. For me, this was a sign. I wondered how many valuable and loyal TKO customers had never toured our facility. And how many didn’t know we did more than vehicle graphics?

I want to make it my mission to get the word out to our customers. Not only because we’re in business and have more than one product, but because our customers deserve to know that a company they know and trust, who understands their needs, and has their artwork, can help them with more than vehicle graphics.

Our last stop was back to the installation Bay. Chief Sowers said hello to a couple of installers and then looked at me and said, “You know, what these installers do is an art.” I agreed. Over the last nine years, I’ve watched TKO Graphix installers at work. Most of the vehicle graphic installation I’ve watched has been in the bays at our Plainfield, IN facility, but occasionally I’ve observed their work at client’s locations. Regardless of where I’ve seen an installation, I’ve always been impressed by our crew’s attention to detail and their skill.

Installer, Applicator, or Artist?

When I hear the title installer, I picture someone putting in an air-conditioning unit or completing home remodeling, not installing vehicle graphics. Sometimes vehicle graphic installers are called applicators, and that may be closer to a descriptive title than installer. However, I have a title I believe best fits what our teams does. The title I believe fits better than installer or even applicator is artist.

If a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words What’s A Video Worth?

If you watch the short video here, you will get a glimpse of what I mean. The video shows two tenured artists applying their chosen medium, adhesive vinyl graphics, to a Watchfire Signs Truck. As you watch the video notice the smooth even strokes as each applies their art to the vehicle. It reminds me of a painter with paintbrush applying layers of colors to a canvas. Once again, the attention to detail is paramount, whether it’s gently applying heat or measuring the placement of the graphic. I don’t have the words to express clearly what this team does, but it’s more than following a procedure and marking points off a checklist – it’s artwork. And since I don’t have the words, I’ll let the camera do the talking.

If we can answer any questions for you or introduce you to our team of artists,  Contact Us, or stop in, you’re more than welcome to visit our art colony. So, what else can we help you with?

Covington Indiana, On the Banks of the Wabash

Covington Indiana sits due west of Indianapolis on US 36. The route goes through the middle of the town dividing north and south. Interstate 74 is just south of the city. When you enter the town, you’ll be greeted by a monument sign with “Welcome to Covington on the banks of the Wabash.” The Wabash River flows through the city limits on the west end of town. Covington is a picturesque town with many things to do.

The 2010 census showed 2,645 residents, 1120 households, and 712 families. 28 % of the population 18-years-old or younger.

The town was established as the Fountain county seat in 1827 one year after the county was formed.

One of the events Covington is known for is their annual Apple Fest. This year the Fest Falls on September 29th. Arts, crafts, food, and more will be displayed in more than 100 booths. Entertainment will perform on the courthouse pavilion stage from 10 am until 5 pm. It’s on my calendar – hope to see you there.