Car Wrap Terminology You Need To Know
You likely know the power of vehicle graphics and the amazing value they can add to your small business. Be it for brand recognition, marketing, or establishing that uniform look for your fleet, custom wraps are one of the most cost effective tools for establishing your business identity.
If you’ve never had one done before, you might be in the dark about some of the finer points of the process. For instance, are you aware of the different types of vehicle graphics? What about design concerns like color matching? It might not seem like much, but having a base understanding of these concepts has a tangible benefit.
Knowing the details, terms and processes ensures that the wrap team will interpret your ideas properly and you’re vehicle wraps will meet all of your expectations. In the interest of helping you learn the ropes, ProWraps, Inc., the leading providers of car wraps in Sacramento, have a handy list of the terminology.
Lets start with the simple stuff. These are some of the general terms you’ll hear in reference to wrapping vehicles.
Adhesive Vinyl – This is what wraps are normally printed on. As the name suggests, this is a type of vinyl that will stick to various surfaces. After printing the design, an technician uses basic application tools to make it a part of your vehicle.
Window Film – This material is used for getting graphics onto windows. Generally made from polyester or vinyl, window film is ideal for vehicle glass because it won’t necessarily limit visibility after application.
Over Lamination – Environmental factors like UV rays and debris from the road can ruin a wrap if it doesn’t include the proper finish. This is a layer placed over the vinyl graphics for protection. In addition, the over laminate improves the finish of the wrap. It enhances the clarity and vibrancy to such a degree that the graphic takes on a painted appearance, which is generally sought after by those having their vehicle wrapped.
Seam – A seam is the line formed when joining two parts of a vinyl wrap together. The wrap team has perfected their techniques to ensure that car and van wraps have clean seams that blend together perfectly.
Plotter – This is the device used to print vehicle wraps. Using a series of automated pens, plotters can make their marks on the adhesive vinyl. These devices are especially useful for printing vector graphics in a way that regular printers cannot. Generally, vendors print designs on 48 to 60 inch wide sheets of vinyl, at high resolution. The design is broken into sections and put back together during installation on your vehicle.
Application Tools – These are the tools of the trade that wrap artists use to get the your graphics in place. X-acto knives, squeegees, heat guns, and more are at the disposal of the skilled professionals at ProWraps.
Not all wraps are the same. There are different types of wraps that cover different portions of the vehicle.
Lettering & Spot Graphics – These are graphic placed on a very small section of the vehicle. Lettering and spot graphics are usually limited to a logo and tagline, making them simple and inexpensive.
Window Graphics – Right there in the name, these are graphics that go on the windows of a vehicle.
Partial Wrap – A wrap that covers but a portion of the vehicle. It might be the front or back half, top or bottom half, or some sort of 3/4 variation, depending on your preferences.
Full Wrap – This covers the entire vehicle, and is the method of choice for businesses wanting to make a strong impression.
File Type – When saving a computer graphic, there are various file formats that you can use. Each has slightly different applications for which they work best, and designers may prefer one type over another. You should get a good idea of what file type you’ll need for a project, be it EPS, JPG, AI, etc. Whatever the case, the design file should be of a high resolution. Oftentimes, this means 300DPI (dots per inch) or more.
Pantone Colors – The Pantone Matching System is a color space used for various kinds of printing, including vehicle wraps. Its standardized nature allows users from all over the world to “match” a color to a specific number, reducing confusion when trying to replicate a logo, graphic or other piece of art.
Proofing – Once you decide upon a design, you’ll have to proof it to make sure it is to your liking. During the proofing phase, you must carefully examine everything to ensure there are no spelling errors, and that the design looks the way you would like it to appear on your vehicle.
Communicating Your Ideas
Now that you have some terminology under your belt, you should be able to use some of it when conversing with the wrap team about your design. Industry jargon might seem impossible to decipher, but once you start speaking the language, you’ll find that it all makes sense and all parties can be on the same page.
Clear communication will enable you to understand the phases of a wrap job much better, convey your ideas much more clearly, and leave you with a finished product that is leaps and bounds beyond what you may have received without the skills to relate with your vendor.