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Pure Image has it wrapped

Melbourne vehicle wrapper and signage specialist Warren Van Den Heuvel has been a motoring enthusiast most of his life, so turning signage into a lucrative business has been his way to live the street-machine dream.

Warren established his signage business Xcesiv Innovations five years ago and in 2011 he founded his vehicle wrap company Pure Image Signs.

Located at Lilydale in Melbourne’s north east, Pure Image specialises in vinyl wraps, vinyl graphics and wide-format printing.

Situated on Beresford Road, one of Melbourne’s best known signage printing precincts, Pure Image collaborates in trade printing relationships with several other signage businesses on that street.

But Warren emphasises that his unswerving commitment to quality – even if it means turning away overly price-conscious customers – is the key to his business philosophy.

Warren Van Den Heuvel at work mini
Warren Van Den Heuval during a wrap

Warren went into business for himself in 2008 after working for a company that purchased its own CAD vinyl cutter to make its own small signage. As a passionate motoring enthusiast, he knew vehicle wrapping was where he wanted to specialise, so he spoke to some potential customers and decided to set out on his own as an automotive aftermarket professional.

A micro-company with just three full-time employees – himself, graphic designer Colt Campbell and project manager Mairead Tracey – Pure Image Signs performs vehicle wrapping as its main service, but it also specialises in graphic design, wide-format printing, low-to-high volume digital printed decals and promotional signs.

“It’s my passion modifying cars and working with other people to really bring out the best in their vehicles,” says Warren -- and our conversation soon turns to his standout project, a VY Holden Commodore SS which he wrapped in Avery’s Supreme wrap vinyl ordered in a custom manufactured colour.

“There are only three vehicles in the world in that colour. We applied the Supreme wrap to all the door and boot-jambs and it received huge raves at the Summernats Car Festival which is held every January in Canberra,” he says.

Warren says a lot of approaches to his company are from aspirational motoring enthusiasts  but “dreamers on a budget aren’t my customers”.  Business comes from customers “who understand they can customise their car and make it unique and not devalue their vehicle”.

Commercial fleet owners are a growing part of the business, especially the types who are vehicle enthusiasts as well, and appreciate the value of a quality vinyl application, whether that’s a bold designed wrap or a fresh new colour on their business vehicles.

Pure Image shop front
Pure Image shop front
A clean print room is indicative of a good shop
The print room is spotless
Attention to detail is everything
Attention to detail is everything
Left- Mairead Tracey Assistant Right- Warren Van Den heuval Company Director small
Mairead Tracey l Warren Van Den heuval

Vinyl wraps have largely taken over from paint resprays as the vogue in adding eye appeal to vehicles, either for enthusiasts or for commercial fleet owners.

 “You’re better off to wrap a car, get what you want out of it, and then when you’re finished with it, either remove it or sell it as it is,” says Warren.

“I’ve got a car I built a long time ago that I displayed at car shows and back then everyone was spending $10-20,000-plus on customised repainting. That doesn’t happen anymore.”

Warren says he definitely does not recommend repainting a vehicle under six years old, as they drop massively in value.

“With the market being flooded with ex-demo and ex-lease cars, a lot of younger guys are getting into newer cars a lot earlier. They want to modify them but for finance reasons they’re not allowed to. But with vinyl wraps they can modify the car in a way that makes it their own and it’s very economical. Instead of spending $10,000, they can do it for $3-4,000.

“We don’t use any cheap materials.  We only use premium cast wrap materials that are designed to be removed again at some future point. These vinyls have been industry-tested for their ability to be safely removed without causing damage to the paintwork underneath.

Pure Image Signs uses only premium-quality Avery, Hexis and 3M films.

“That means the car can be returned to an unmodified state and resold for a higher value. In fact, the vinyl wrap actually protects the paint underneath from wear and tear such as stone chips.”

Avery Dennison’s Supreme supercast vinyl is a wrapping film for road and marine vehicles, which is applied with Avery’s Easy-Apply patented adhesive. It comes in high gloss, matte, metallic or brushed-finish supercast vinyl, conforms to concave, convex and compound curves, claims a 10-year durability -- and can be easily removed.

Hexis Skintac HX30000 is a multi-layered cast PVC with great flexibility and high conformability for fast and risk-free transfers, especially recommended for complex compound curved surfaces and long-term outdoor applications. The PE-coated liner with HEX’Press adhesive helps expel air, which prevents bubbling while it is being applied.

3M’s Scotchprint Wrap 1080 offers a range of finishes, textures and colours, including carbon fibre.

That said, Warren emphasises that even a premium-grade wrap film cannot save an unskilled wrapper from making mistakes.

“I’ve completed training for all the main brands of vehicle wrap in Australia,” he states. “Accreditation is where they then test your knowledge and test your installation techniques.”

Warren is one of only eight Hexis accredited installers in Australia and working through his accreditation with Avery now.

Colt Campbell, Pure Image’s inhouse graphic designer, brings clients’ ideas to life.  Colt will create a bold professional design that enhances a customer’s corporate image.

Customers receive a sample of their wrap as a print proof, printed on the vinyl media of choice and printed in an identical environment, including temperature, to the one for the actual job, so they can approve the project with confidence.

The job is then printed on Pure Image’s Roland VS640 eight-colour eco-solvent printer, which Warren describes as a real workhorse – as we speak, the wide-format VersaCAMM machine has been operating 24/7 for the last four days on a major order.

Warren researched the vendor market extensively four years ago and settled on the VS640 from local Roland distributor Conect Enterprises, a decision he says has left him with largely no regrets.

Pure Image is also expanding into the non-vehicular market, especially through its wholesale work with partners. Jobs have included a building signage for the Doncaster Primary School, and wrapping an underpass at Carrum Downs railway station, as well as panel signage, shop facias and pylons.

“Most of my referrals are by word of mouth,” reflects Warren. “I do a bit of promoting on social media and I’m always on the lookout for new customers.”


Pure Image Signs