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Vehicle Graphics: Take your brand on the road

One of the best ways to advertise to a large local market is vehicle graphics.

For service businesses, vehicle graphics are especially important because they convey trust; would you rather a plain white van show up at your house to do work, or a truck that had vinyl lettering that clearly showed what company it represented?

Nearly every company can benefit from some form of vehicle graphics, and we’ll cover the 3 most common types here- Car Magnets, Vinyl Lettering and Car Wraps.

Car Magnets

custom car magnets vehicle graphics

Custom car magnets are a great temporary solution for vehicle graphics. Made from a vinyl face with a special magnetized backing material, vinyl letters or a digital print can be applied to the material and stuck to the car. A set of car door magnets might be perfect if you’re a business owner that uses your car during the day for work, but want to be able to remove your car magnet advertising at night when you go out to dinner with your family.

Magnets are fast to produce, fairly inexpensive and highly customizable. Having your car magnets custom cut to shape is very simple and can be done by hand very quickly.

A word of caution- there are a very small number of cars that are made from aluminum or fiberglass that car magnets will not stick to. The 2015 and up Ford F-150 is the most common example, and many luxury vehicles such as the Audi A8 and Tesla Model S have aluminum bodies as well.

Sports cars such as the Corvette often use fiberglass or composite body panels that are not receptive to car magnets. There’s nothing worse as a sign maker thank putting together a nice pair of custom car magnets and when you try to put them on in the parking lot they fall right to the ground.

You can find cheap car magnets online, but beware that they may use material meant for refrigerator magnets that is so thin and weak that they fly right off your car! 30 mil magnetic material should be the thinnest used for car magnets.

Vinyl Lettering

box truck lettering vehicle graphics
Box truck lettering by Forrest Signs

The most common form of vehicle graphics is vinyl lettering. Adhesive vinyl rolls are cut with a cnc machine known as a plotter making custom car stickers in one of hundreds of colors.

In the early 1990’s, most shops began using vinyl lettering for cars instead of paint, making the process faster, less expensive and easier to remove when the time came to sell the car.  Having custom vinyl lettering installed on your car is a very simple process, installation rarely takes more than a day for most jobs.

With the advent of large format digital printers, shops are now able to print custom car stickers with multiple colors, images or graphics. Applied like large car bumper stickers, the material has an air release pattern that allows the installer to remove air bubbles from below the vinyl.

Car stickers are quickly becoming the norm for vehicle graphics. With a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, easy install and removal and infinite customization available, the industry is leaning away from single color vinyl lettering and towards custom car stickers as they allow you to carry much less inventory. Jobs like this box truck lettering above used to require 4 different colors of vinyl to be cut and applied separately, but now can be printed as one custom car sticker.

One of the best opportunities to make a big impact in brand recognition is box truck lettering. If my business uses box trucks, lettering the sides allows my box trucks to be a rolling billboard for my business! One of the things that my clients tell me is that once you purchase box truck lettering you hear “I see your trucks everywhere!” all the time, even if you only have one truck.

Car Wraps

Van wrap truck lettering vinyl car wrap vehicle graphics
Van wrap by the always amazing Graphic D-Signs

Car wrap advertising is the newest trend in vehicle graphics. Using large format digital prints on a special car wrap vinyl, the entire car can be covered in advertising.

Car wrap advertising companies have sprouted up in every city, and you may have noticed that vehicle wraps are all over your area.

This high impact outdoor advertising has shown incredible ROI and low cost per impression for the companies that choose to use a car wrap instead of traditional vehicle graphics like vinyl lettering or car magnets.
There are 3 questions we get asked most about car wraps-

How much does it cost to wrap a car?

How much is it to wrap a car?

and lastly, How much to wrap a car?

Price is a very common concern when it comes to car wraps, unfortunately there isn’t a blanket answer to the car wrapping price question. The cost to wrap a car varies greatly based on location. Installer experience, car model and how much competition there is in the area are factors as well.

Some folks are happy to give this labor intensive product away for much less than market value, but chances are the quality of the install and the car wrap material used probably won’t be good.

We always suggest that you ask what material your car wrap will be printed on, and if the names 3M, Avery, Arlon or Oracal don’t come up, be skeptical of lowball car wrap prices.

The cost of the car wrap vinyl is a large expense, 3m car wrap may be the most expensive, but the quality is very good; Avery car wrap and the others listed above are fantastic choices as well. When I wrap my car, It’s either 3M car wrap or Avery wrap vinyl for me.

My car wrap cost might be a little higher, but my clients tend to choose to pay for a quality car wrapping job over the lowest price. The best shops will offer a written warranty with your car wrap, ensuring that your new branding investment will work for you for years to come.

Need help with Vehicle Graphics or branding?

Whether you have need vehicle graphics for 1 truck or fleet graphics for thousands, we can work with you to design your vinyl lettering or car wraps for maximum impact, or manage a local or national vehicle graphic project. For the best advice on vehicle grapics, indoor signs or outdoor signs Please check our sign consulting page.

Vehicle Graphics Consulting

About Kevin Bergin

Kevin is a 20 year veteran of the sign business, having worked in every facet of the industry from sales to installation. Kevin now shares his earned knowledge with you on SignBuyersGuide.com

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