Image credit: http://www.fellers.com | Fellers is one of the largest wrap and vinyl distributors in America.
Signs have been around for centuries, and vehicle signs have been around as long as vehicles. But the idea of taking a vehicle and completely wrapping every inch of it in vinyl is a fairly recent phenomenon.
I’ll be the first to admit that some wrapped vehicles are truly impressive. They can really be eye-catching, and things can be done with wraps that can’t be done any other way. For example, take a yellow truck and make it blue to match the rest of the fleet – or change the color and look of your entire fleet in just a few days. If those vehicles had to be painted, there would be sanding, priming, painting, curing … and then a wait time of a few weeks before you could letter the vehicle. Wraps do have their place, and they are here to stay.
With all of that said, I’m not really a big fan of wraps. There are a few drawbacks to keep in mind, if you’re considering vehicle lettering vs. wrapping.
One: Cost. Overall, a wrap generally costs more than lettering. Proponents will say it’s worth it, and it likely is for most people – the advertising value of a beautifully wrapped or decorated vehicle shouldn’t be overlooked. Nonetheless, it is a consideration that not everyone’s budget allows for.
Second: Longevity. Although inks and laminates are getting better and better, wraps generally don’t last as long as most people would like. It’s great if you’re leasing, or if you replace your vehicles every few years (in fact, it can protect the paint from minor damage and sun rays, allowing for a better resale or trade-in value). But if you are a business owner who likes to keep a vehicle for many years, wraps can start to deteriorate and look truly awful after a few years in the Florida sun. This is particularly true of wraps applied to hoods and flat surfaces of vehicles – the flatter the surface, the more sun damage it will accumulate, and with hoods you have a double-whammy: Hot sun from above and hot engine below. Expect to get maybe as little as two years from a wrapped hood before it starts to show its age.
Third: Damage and accidents. Unfortunately with driving as much as most business vehicles do, damage and accidents are inevitable. With a wrap, particularly if some time has passed and fading has occurred, you may be faced with having to re-wrap an entire side or even the full vehicle because of a minor scrape – whereas with vinyl lettering it may only be a letter or two that needs to be replaced.
Fourth: Changes to phone numbers, business name, or website. As with the third item above, sometimes changes like that happen. Maybe you move to a different county or state, and the only thing that needs to be changed is the phone number. That’s a lot easier to do with vinyl than a wrap.