Every so often, we at Automoblog get asked to review something. Sometimes those things land on my desk (literally) and I get to level my opinion at it. Such was the case with Displate, a company that makes a variety of graphic design pieces printed onto metal. (Go to the end of this review for a discount code).
I think the name is a portmanteau (look it up) on the words display and plate.
Disclosure:This article is sponsored by Displate. The products outlined below were sent to me at no charge. The views and opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Automoblog. For more information, please review our advertising guidelines.
Out of The Ordinary
For one thing, I don’t know what to call this. It’s different than art in a traditional sense. What Displate makes are like metal posters. The company describes them as “magnet-mounted metal prints.” These prints cover a bunch of different subjects – everything from basic graphics and movies, to famous people and cars. But instead of them being a paper poster, they’re printed on metal!
It’s not a revolutionary idea, but it’s not a bad one either, especially if you are an artist. Displate products are designed by talented artists who earn money for their contributions.
I was asked to pick a “poster” to review and, as expected, I picked a car-themed one. In the largest size available. I have a tendency to like large works of art. It came from seeing Gericault’s Raft of The Medusa at an impressionable age. Displate products come in three sizes, including 35.4″ x 25.2.”
They had a nice selection of blue print-esque versions of various cars, so I went with one of those. Specifically, a Ferrari 166 MM. A personal favorite. People like my mechanic friend Carl would go for one of Displate’s cool Audi blueprints (he’s got a real thing going for Audis these days).
Lions & Tigers & The 80s!
In case you’re wondering, Displate makes more than just car posters. They actually have a ton of stuff on offer. They have blueprints of radial airplane engines (one I would have gladly taken), maps of famous cities, trippy space art (no word on any black light versions), and groovy creatures like foxes and tigers and such. There is even an 80s retro category.
So in a lot of ways, they should have most hobbies and tastes covered.
The only real areas Displate seems to be missing is older stuff of a nostalgic bent. It’d be great to see some Margaret Bourke White or Wee Gee photos from the 1930s. Perhaps the audience is not wide enough?
Much to my surprise, days after running my request up the chain, a bloody great package appeared on my doorstep. It was wrapped in some sort of bi-colored, bi-faced rubberized plastic. There were two flat boxes taped together. At first I was puzzled. It weighed a ton. I only ordered a single metal wall hanging. I un-taped them and sliced the bags off the boxes to reveal identical Displate shipping boxes. These were cheerfully colored, childishly decorated, custom die-cut affairs.
According to the company, expected delivery time is three to five business days, depending on the shipping destination. Full refunds are granted if the product is returned within 100 days of delivery.
Apart from the decorative failings, the packaging was magnificent. In some cases, I’m a real sucker for good packaging. I’ve worked with companies that handle these sorts of things, so well-designed packaging gets my attention. I open the lid (it’s pretty obvious which way is up) and find cut stacks of corrugated cardboard (miter cut at the corners, no less).
It was topped with a single layer of corrugated cardboard as a buffer.
Getting The Goods
The buffer layer has a complicated and garish logo die cut right in the center, but there are two relief arches for your fingers to grab and easily remove. While this is a nice touch, it also seemed like a waste of time and money. Or at least that die cut logo did.
Beneath that was – taDAH – my line drawing of a Ferrari 166 MM. It’s wrapped in a clear plastic envelope with some high-tech adhesive closure. Even the bag is more than it needs to be. But beneath the line drawing of the Ferrari, there’s another die-cut buffer layer . . . and through the overdone cut out logo I see another Displate poster.
What the . . .
Displate sent me not one, not two, but five of their fine products. In addition to the 166 MM, they also sent drawings of a Ferrari 275 GTB, a Porsche Speedster and, somewhat inexplicably, a print of The Stig.
Even more inexplicable, a print tribute to the movie Baby Driver.
An Extra Treat
The Stig looks like something a 14-year-old would put on his bedroom wall right next to the poster of a scantily clad, distressingly pneumatic woman holding a Brand Beer. The Baby Driver one . . . well, it’s about as tastelessly executed and badly done as the movie it is trying to celebrate. Baby Driver is horrible, not just as a car movie (and it is that) but as a movie movie.
While browsing through Displate’s online catalog, I saw the Baby Driver poster and literally chuckled out loud and said, “well I won’t be getting that, I can assure you.” And now a jealous and vengeful deity of sorts has allegorically slapped me in the face with around two square feet of sheet metal.
What I was going for was something I thought was a blueprint (I have a certain fetish for blueprints) but it’s actually more like a chalk line-drawing on a blackboard. Not exactly a bad look and it can work in a bunch of different locations. My location for the Ferraris and Porsche will be in the large shed/small barn I am slowly clearing and making into a garage. They should fit right in with my old framed racing posters, swoopy hubcaps, bits of crashed race cars, and the like.
The fit and finish on everything Displate sent me was top notch. The edges are rolled and mitered around the back, so there’s no sharp edges or anything. The surface is not overly glossy either. It’s almost a satin-like finish so it won’t glare (even if my photography doesn’t show that).
Obviously these things are not meant to go in barns (even though mine will, and my barn is going to be a super-cool garage when I get done).
Given the breadth of what Displate has on offer, they could work well almost anywhere. Offices, depending on your business, beauty salons, restaurants; any business really. If your home has a full on media room, Displate has tons of movie and TV-themed stuff that would work like a charm. And if that media room is where your game console resides, you could mix it up with game-themed Displate posters too.
That leaves me with The Stig and Baby Driver? I might use them as a drip pan to catch oil leaks. It also occurs to me that if The Stig poster was a little bigger, I could set him in the passenger seat and use the carpool lane. Or not. Every time I try to get clever that way, I usually end up talking with the cops and/or a judge.
That rarely turns out well for me.
You try it with The Stig and let us know. Your mileage may vary.
Want one? Displate made us a special discount code just for Automoblog readers. Use the coupon code AUTO20 for 20% off everything.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter:@TonyBorroz