Let’s start by exploring the process of designing and installing vehicle graphics, then we’ll move on to how to properly care for the graphics to extend the life of the product.
How Custom Vehicle Graphics are Fabricated
The first step in the vehicle graphics process is deciding on a design. A template of the vehicle is made to help visualize the space for the graphic and determine the dimensions and placement of the graphics.
Once an idea has been finalized, our graphic designers create a proof with a vector-based program like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
With the design complete, the file is sent to the printer, which prints the design on large sheets of vinyl. The vinyl is cut into shapes and letters with a plotter, and the excess vinyl is removed.
Next, the vinyl panels are covered with a laminate coating to prevent fading, grime, debris, UV rays, and oil. There are several options for laminates, most of which revolve around the desired sheen level for the designs (gloss or matte).
After a quality check, the vinyl is ready to be installed on the vehicle.
Installing Vehicle Graphics
The first step in the installation process is to clean the vehicle surface. Any dirt, dust, or grease will prevent the vinyl from adhering properly. It is also recommended that imperfections in the vehicle's exterior be fixed before installation. This could include scratches, dents, or rust spots.
The next step is to position the vinyl on the vehicle. This is done by taping the vinyl to the vehicle to ensure it is the correct size and shape and then trimming any excess. Next, the graphic adheres to the vehicle with a car-safe adhesive. Once the vinyl is set correctly, a squeegee is used to remove any bubbles and make the design look its best.
After the vinyl is installed, the tape is removed, and the new custom vehicle graphics are ready to start generating new customers.
How to Care for Vehicle Graphics
To ensure the graphics last as long as possible, it is important to care for them properly. For the first 24 hours after installation, avoid washing the vehicle or exposing it to extreme temperatures.
After this time, the vehicles can be washed as normal. However, avoid high-pressure hoses and brushes, as these will damage the vinyl. When possible, hand wash the vehicle.
To clean the graphics, use a light solution of car wash soap and water. Avoid harsh chemicals and solvents, as these damage the vinyl.
Whether you need a single vehicle wrapped or graphics for your entire fleet of company vehicles, our experts at FASTSIGNS® of Boise, ID, can help. Contact us today or drop by our sign shop.