Vehicle Graphics

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Vehicle graphics are commonly done in three main types of media. Graphics and lettering done in automotive paint were once the only option available, and now they are used primarily for only the most permanent or homegrown of applications. Both of the other two media are forms of vinyl, which is popular for its brightness, protective qualities, and durability.

Some kinds of vinyl technology involve the semi-permanent installation or large sheets or custom-cut pieces of vinyl on a surface. Application and removal of some older kinds of vinyl often involves mildly hazardous chemicals, occasionally necessitating some form of professional help. Because of the development of safer, easy-on/easy-off vinyl, the use of older kinds of vinyl has been dramatically reduced.

Many of the new kinds of vinyl have been developed by 3M. They include products specifically designed to be easy to install and remove, such as pressure-sensitive adhesive that is easily repositioned before the final application. Some newer kinds of vinyl, used in such applications as vehicle wraps, also allow for air to escape, leading to less air bubbles and other installation hang-ups.

Wrapped Vehicle Graphics

Vehicle wrapping is a new form of vehicle graphics that uses the entire vehicle, in all three dimensions, as a canvas for a print advertisement or logo. The vehicle graphics for the wraps are printed on thin, wide strips of vinyl that are then carefully applied to the surface of the vehicle. The vinyl is extremely durable, and though it requires professional installation and removal, will last as long as three years.

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