Vehicle & Fleet Graphics

Thursday, June 30, 2005

What are the file requirements for the artwork?

Often, vehicle and fleet graphics customers have their own artwork that they would like to use for their wraps. And we are asked what our file requirments are in order to be able to use their file(s) for the results. Below we outline our recommendations:

File Types:

At Azure, we support the latest versions of the following applications:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe PageMaker
  • Quark Xpress
  • CorelDraw
File Requirments:

As a general rule, we always suggest providing an image that is a minimum of 150dpi at actual size. If the image is smaller than actual size, then the dpi must be correspondingly higher.

Graphic designers pretty much understand these requirements, but the average person may be a little confused. So if you ever have any questions, then we always recommend just contacting us via phone or email so that we can assist you.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

How do I install vehicle graphics or fleet graphics?

At Azure, we highly recommend that you have a professional installer put your graphics on. But if you really want to do it yourself, then we have provided some basic instructions to help you out.

Instructions for Installing your Vinyl Graphic

Tools and Materials Required:

Plastic Squeegee, Sharp Razor Blades, Sharp Scissors and Rubbing Alcohol


  • For best results, application of your car graphic should be performed indoors (between 60 F and 90 F) and away from wind and dirt particles.
  • Clean the surface by removing debris (i.e. mud, dust, etc.) with soap and water. Thoroughly wipe using a lint-free cloth and a 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water. This will remove any traces of wax, oil, or grease.
  • NOTE: Test a small, inconspicuous area of painted surface to avoid any paint damage.


  • Before removing the vinyl backing, measure and cut vinyl to fit the area to be covered. Be sure to cut oversize to allow for trimming at the surface edge.
  • Remove backing from vinyl (if this is a large sheet being used only expose the area you are beginning with) being careful not to allow the material to stick to itself. For the best truck graphic results, carefully place vinyl on the vehicle surface avoiding any major wrinkles, particularly in the middle of the vinyl. The 3M Controltac feature will allow you to remove and replace the vinyl until you feel comfortable with its position.
  • 3M’s comply performance feature allows air to escape through micro channels embedded in the vinyl. For an ideal installation, take your time to remove all air bubbles by running your squeegee or your hand over the bubbles until smooth. Once correctly positioned, use the plastic squeegee by applying medium, to heavy pressure, working from the middle to the edges, to remove any trapped air bubbles as you go. Be careful not to run the squeegee over wrinkles as this can tear the vinyl.
  • Curved Surfaces: To avoid wrinkles in the vinyl over curved surfaces, make small 1/2 inch relief cuts to allow the vinyl to conform to the surface shape.

Monday, May 23, 2005

What to look for in a vehicle & fleet graphics provider...

Most people are new purchasers of vehicle and fleet graphics, and they don't really know what to look for in a provider. This blog will attempt to outline some of the major items that you should look for in a company.

1. Are they specialists? Lately, there are an ever-increasing number of large-format printers around the country. And almost all of these printers will tell you that they are one-stop shop providers. In other words, they are willing to print almost anything. But is that the best type of provider for vehicle graphics?

Our belief is no. As an analogy, where would you bring your vehicle to if you needed transmission work? Would you bring it to the transmission specialists who do nothing else day in and day out? Or would you bring it to a general mechanic shop that occasionally sees some transmission work? Vehicle and fleet graphics are a very specialized type of large-format printing. And just because a provider is willing to do it, doesn't necessarily mean that it is the best option for the customer.

2. Do they have full-time expert designers? Most large-format print shops employ production people to create graphics. But most of these printers do not have even one full-time graphic design expert.

Now if you're a customer that already has the exact graphics at the exact resolution and at the exact size that you need, then you don't really have to worry about it. But for the rest of you, you want to work with a firm that not only has at least a full-time expert designer, but you want to be confident that they can create top-quality graphics the way that you want them.

Please sure to look at some images of previous work that they have done. And be specific to ask whether or not the provider's designer did the design or if the printer provider just printed what a customer had already designed.

3. Do they use top quality materials & inks? From our experience, this isn't really usually an issue. But you should always check to make sure what materials and inks will be used to make sure that you are getting quality. We personally prefer to use 3M vinyl materials with eco-solvent inks, which are environmentally-friendly.

Many printers use harsh solvent inks which require ventilation and pollute the environment. By utilizing more recent technological advances, the eco-solvent inks provide images which are just as vibrant if not more vibrant that those with solvent inks.

4. Do they use full-time expert installers? Along with design, materials, and inks - you also want to make sure that the prospective graphics provider uses top quality installers. What good does it do you to have wonderful graphics made - only to watch them get butchered when they are put on your vehicle? Some printers just use some of their hourly production people to go out back and throw on vehicle graphics when they occasionally get an order. We think that you can do better.

We hope that this article can help the novice vehicle or fleet graphics customer to have a better understanding of what things they should look for in a provider.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Why consider using vehicle graphics for advertising?

Some folks might be wondering - why should I consider vehicle graphics? For the most part, the vast majority of vehicle graphics are purchased by businesses that are looking to advertise their company/product/service, etc. There are some cases where individuals are interested in putting some images that they like on their vehicle, but for the most part we are talking about businesses.

Let's start by thinking about what are the options for a small to medium sized business for cost-effective advertising local advertising? For most businesses, the major options include: the yellow pages, newspapers, radio, TV, and billboards. (For some who might be wondering, I'm omitting cold-calling and direct-mail since I view them as types of prospecting as opposed to forms of advertising.)

As anybody who has recently priced yellow pages advertising, it is EXTREMELY expensive. Ads can run into the thousands per month and even worse you're business is advertised right next to all of your competitors. And if nobody is even aware of your offering, then nobody will ever see the ad. After all, the have to pick-up the book, look for you, and find you in the right category.

Newspapers, radio, and TV are also EXTREMELY expensive. And as a reader, listener or viewer - do you personally ever pay attention to the ads? I don't know about you, but I've learned to totally drown them out. And we're not even talking about the proliferation of Tivo or Satellite radio. Clearly people are willing to PAY to avoid the ads!

Billboards are another option. They are also EXTREMELY expensive, but at least they can grab the attention of prospective customers if they are placed in good (expensive) locations. But the big drawback with billboards is that they are not mobile. If you want to move your ad to a new location, then you need to pay for a new spot if it's even available.

So what about vehicle graphics? For many businesses, they can cost less than $2.00 per day per vehicle assuming that the graphics are kept for 3 years. With a good design they are eye-catching. They are obviously mobile - just put the vehicle where you want it. And in most cases, your business already has service and delivery vehicles that are driving around your marketplace. Clearly they are a very cost-effective way to advertise your small or medium sized business.

Monday, May 09, 2005

How to get into the vehicle graphics business...

Folks frequently ask us how they can get into the vehicle graphics business. And the simple answer is that there are a few different options...

The most difficult (and expensive) option would be to setup a shop to design, produce, and install vehicle graphics yourself. At a bare minimum, you would need some computers and graphic design software, you would need someone with excellent graphic design skills and experience in the industry, you would need a large-format printer that can print outdoor graphics, you would need a laminator, and you would need an installer, you would need experienced staff to run the equipment, and you would need to lease space. Your upfront and monthly fixed costs would be substantial before you even tried to market and sell your first graphic. Not only would the production learning curve be substantial, but then you would have a hell of a time convincing a paying customer to let you do their vehicle graphics when you don't have any experience and had never actually done one.

To help folks that are unwilling (or unable) to go it alone, we have created 3 different options to make it easier for folks to be able to get into the business.

The first option is the referral option. Folks can send us a customer lead, and then we take it from there. If the deal closes, we pay a referral fee. It's that simple.

The second option is the wholesale option. Folks can purchase vehicle graphics from us, and resell it to their customer. If needed, we can provide the design, the graphics, and the installation.

The third option is the dealership option. In addition to what wholesale purchasers receive, authorized dealers get: training, support, a digital design mock-up to help sell vehicle graphics to a customer, use of our customer examples and references. And to make the dealership even more profitable and valuable, we limit the number of authorized dealers in any given area.

Please see our website for additional details at:

We hope that this posting has been helpful. Please send us your comments or questions.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Just what exactly are vehicle Graphics?

Vehicle graphics, the photo-realistic ads on vehicles, are catching on across the nation. They are also known as car graphics, auto graphics, truck graphics, auto wraps, or vehicle wraps. They're increasingly being used by businesses as a way to have their advertising stand out from the crowd. According to the Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement, mobile advertising can generate 30,000-70,000 vehicular sightings a day. Vehicle graphics are mobile billboards that can be utilized for years. Businesses can position their vehicles in strategic locations wherever and whenever they want.

Vehicle graphics are color digital prints that are affixed to autos, vans, trucks or buses. They are more vivid and eye-catching than traditional cut vinyl letters. Color digital printing technology allows businesses to put virtually any image on vehicles including photos, logos, and text. The image is first designed using computer software, then the image is printed on an adhesive vinyl material and finally the prints are installed onto the vehicles. Usually car and trucks are wrapped but one unique example is the 4.2 mile long Las Vegas Monorail, the first fully automated rail in the country, which is completely covered with graphics for movies and casinos. On a smaller scale, many national companies have advertising on company cars and the trend is the latest in an effort for businesses to find new and exciting ways to promote their products.

Getting a business noticed in today's crowded advertising marketplace is becoming more and more difficult. So local businesses that want to stand out and take their advertising to the next level should look into putting vehicle wraps on their cars, vans, and trucks. Businesses with delivery or service vehicles are particularly well positioned to utilize vehicle wraps since their vehicles are always being driven around town and in front of new potential customers.

Friday, April 29, 2005


We would like to welcome everybody to the Azure Vehicle Graphics blog. We want this to be an interactive blog. We will make updates each week, and we welcome your comments on our posts.

To find out more about who we are, please visit our website at

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