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The 'Wrap' on Vehicle Wraps: 4 Tips to Consider Before Installing Car Graphics

Posted on September 13, 2012

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a vehicle completely wrapped in an advertisement: it caught my attention so much so that I nearly rear-ended the person in front of me! Since then, that form of advertising has spread like wildfire; nowadays, I’m always passing by at least a few vehicles each day that are completely “wrapped.” After I started working at Kiwi Creative, however, it didn’t take me long to realize that while this tactic seems simple, the behind-the-scenes process is quite complex.

Here are a few valuable tips and insider-info for great vehicle wrap design:

Curvy Cars = More Complex = More Time & $$$.

When choosing a style of vehicle to wrap, it’s important to pick a car model without a lot of curves. Even though you'd think that choosing a compact car with a small surface area would be the most cost effective option, that's not always true. Rounded edges create unique angles that make a vehicle wrap more difficult to install, thus increasing the cost.

Get a Specific Template (and Specs) from the Printer.

Contact the vendor who will be printing your car wrap to confirm they have a template for your chosen vehicle. If not, this will delay the process because either (a): you or (b): the printer will have to hunt down this valuable piece of info. Your designer will also need to know technical specs specific to your printer, including what type of file they prefer and how much of a bleed each file should contain.

Solid Color Wraps are Faster and Easier to Install.

To speed up the sometimes lengthy process of wrapping your vehicle, use a basic solid-colored wrap as a base; many manufacturers have these solid color wraps pre-printed and readily available—no need to print one up from scratch. They're also easier to install because it's not critical for the installers to match up exact design and type elements across individual panels. To customize, the printer will create individual logos/images that will be installed on top of the solid color base. This easy step can save a day or more of installation time.

Be Patient with Install Time.

The installation process for a vehicle wrap is quite complex and detailed. After all, there’s a l-a-r-g-e vinyl shell that needs to be precisely placed on the vehicle so all the edges line up properly. And, while the material is thin and flexible, it's also quite delicate; therefore, the installer needs to be gentle and slow with this process.

The average time it takes to complete this ingenious advertising tactic is about 3-4 days due to printing and labor, not including design time which will probably average about one week. (Sorry, there are no short cuts or ‘rounded edges’ around that!) However, vehicle wraps are a great way to get your name out there in the community and create a buzz, so they should definitely be considered by small and large businesses alike. For example, Malley’s Chocolates recently rolled out a vehicle wrap promotion that's been quite popular around the Cleveland area. So who’s up to driving around our Kiwi Creative car wrap? Beep Beep….

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Topics: Advertising

Meaghan Gorman

Written by Meaghan Gorman

Maeghan Gorman is a sales and marketing specialist with a degree in Marketing from John Carroll University.

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