By Nancy Ingalls Vehicle wraps attract radio and TV station managers like lawyers to a vote-recount. June 16, 2005 -- The increased use of inkjet printers to produce outdoor-durable graphics, coupled with the superior durability of vinyl substrates has spurred impressive growth for not just vinyl manufacturers but digital print shops as well. One of the more noticeable apps is the rolling stock of vehicles wrapped in vinyl displays that are far more visible--and memorable--than basic die-cut vinyl signs used by most businesses. Vehicle wraps are extremely cost-effective signs. They communicate rapidly and legibly with written or graphic representation. However, a wrap must present the company or advertiser favorably as well as convey a benefit to viewers. If an advertisement fails these objectives, the wraps are of little value. The first asset of vehicle wraps is visibility -- they are likely to get attention. Vehicle wraps make great "brochures," as long as viewers have sufficient time to review an offering's benefits. Vehicle wraps attract radio and TV station managers like lawyers to a vote-recount. The giant, self-adhesive, color brochures stretch the imagination of graphic designers. Vehicle wraps likely to grow in popularity Their effectiveness as an advertising medium can suffer if the design has too much "background noise." Effective design is achieved through simplicity, clarity, crispness, balance and punch. How many wraps have you noticed that failed to convey a simple, clear message? Does the wrap convey value to viewers or does it just shout, "Notice me!" like a poorly designed commercial that's entertaining but leaves you asking yourself, "What was that all about?" Effective design is achieved through simplicity, clarity, crispness, balance and punch. Vehicle wraps will likely continue to grow in popularity, with sales of larger equipment, improved production, printing methods and expanding uses for these products. Attention to the message's effectiveness, film selection, surface preparation and proper application are essential to the success of wraps. Buyers must track the results of their ads, along with expenditures, and compare them to results of other methods, such as super graphics. They will examine the profitability of wraps and hold installers accountable for any failures. Vinyl is Vinyl right? There are many different types of vinyl substrates which can be used for indoor or outdoor applications. "Vinyl" is commonly referred as a very durable tear resistant material used for producing signs and wide to large format display graphics. Cast vinyl is used for vehicle graphics. Its durable and flexible. Many vehicle wraps should use Semi-Permanent adhesives. These adhesives fall somewhere between Permanent and Removable and can be removed cleanly (no residue left behind) with a little bit of heat. Vinyl films using Permanent Removable adhesives are a great choice for the ever-changing messages in point-of-purchase So how do they do that? Wrapping any vehicle consists of 3 stages. The first is the conceptual, design and layout stage. The second is the production stage and the third stage is installation. There may even be a forth stage that involves removal of the graphics. The design stage is the most critical part of the process. Communication is key. Expectations, and a thorough understanding of the overall project is a must. The design should be done with the understanding that images need to be scanned at specific resolutions, file types must be adhered to and the design must be scaled to the vehicle. The design should be done with the understanding that images need to be scanned at specific resolutions, file types must be adhered to and the design must be scaled to the vehicle. If everything in stage one is done properly and all the specifications are followed in detail, not much should go wrong in the production stage, right?. This is the part of the project where most clients try to cut corners and reduce the overall cost of the project. Quality control is key here. Always print a 4-foot-wide layout proof on the material to be used. Additionally, print a full-size cropped area of the vehicle for your records if future reprints are necessary you can match the colors. The third stage is key and can make or break the deal. Wraps require good handling. The material must fit the vehicle's contours and retain its good looks long-term. Considering production costs, buyers expect it to retain shape and color for years, unless they can afford to have vinyl frequently reapplied. A properly trained installer who is given enough time and budget can be worth their weight in gold. An inexperienced installer working at bargain prices may get the graphics installed in record time but more than likely the graphics will be full of bubbles, creases, torch burn marks and the vinyl around rivet heads not put down. Not to mention the graphic is not placed properly on the vehicle per the layout. A properly trained installer who is given enough time and budget can be worth their weight in gold. Finally, the fourth stage -- Easy removal of a wrap depends on your skill, supplies and equipment, plus the type of film you're using. Most removable films have a specified window for easier maneuverability, usually within two years of application. Beyond this timeframe, it's more difficult to remove, especially in warmer climates. Generally four color process has an approximate life of 3 to 5 years exterior depending on weather conditions. Spot color has an exterior life expectancy of approximately 5 years and also may depend upon weather conditions. So there you have it, everything you wanted to know about vehicle wraps and the vinyl used to produce them. Just think of the sweet deals you can conjure up using fleet or vehicle wraps. Believe me, the wraps start with the vehicles and can grow exponentially. Please offer your feedback to Nancy. She can be reached at: [email protected].