Vehicle Graphics

What Is Vehicle Wrapping?

Author: Rebecca Terry

Whether it’s used on cars, vans or other forms of transport, vinyl wrapping is a versatile and non-permanent way of changing a vehicle’s appearance for a variety of purposes.

Fastsign vehicle wrap

How it’s used

Van wrapping is one of the most common types, and is used to advertise businesses from small independent firms to international conglomerates. Some large entertainment companies, in particular, are known for completely wrapping their fleets of vans in bright and eye-catching designs, showcasing some of their current products.

Other commercial vehicle wrapping is also common, particularly public transport. Buses have featured advertising posters on their sides since the early 20th century but, now, the entire vehicle can be covered in a vinyl design. This includes the windows, which allow the passengers to see out, whilst those outside see the printed design, thanks to the difference in light levels.

It’s not just for advertising

Car wrapping is the point at which different uses meet. Yes, cars are wrapped for commercial purposes, such as for the police, paramedics or even for motor racing, but the technique is also used for private car modification.

Fastsign vehicle wrap

It’s increasingly common for people to specify an opaque wrap to cover all their car’s painted surfaces, changing its colour without the expense of a paint respray. These can be simple transformations, such as turning a car from blue to red, or they can feature striking designs and mirror or shift effects for show cars.

How is it done?

Vehicle wrapping, whatever its use, is applied the same way. Accurate measurements of the vehicle are taken, so that the design you specify are certain to fit on the panels you want to cover.

Once the vinyl is printed, and the vehicle thoroughly washed and dried to make sure there’s no dirt to be trapped, the material is offered up. Heating it makes it easier to work with. Its strong adhesive backing is applied little by little, whilst any air pockets and wrinkles are smoothed out. The excess around each panel is then trimmed.

What to watch out for

Applying a wrap might seem like a simple process, but it can be very tricky to get right. Using a skilled vinyl wrap fitter is essential to get the right finish as an amateur will find it easy to ruin. Any slight wrinkles and trapped air bubbles can be difficult to get out, and misaligned designs can be embarrassing.

Fastsign vehicle wrap

In extreme scenarios, trapped moisture under the vinyl can lead to rust, while cheap and thin material will age quickly.

Other benefits of vinyl

When done professionally, though, vinyl wrapping offers many more possibilities than paint can. Crystal-clear designs and photographs can be included in advertising and branding, whilst a well-applied opaque wrap can look every bit as good as a professional bare-metal colour respray.

As well as the cost savings over paint, a vinyl wrap can be completely removed. If done so professionally, it should leave no marks, leaving your vehicle’s value intact.

To see some of the ways in which you can use vehicle wrapping, take a look at our range of vehicle graphics.