Over the last decade, there has been a shift to more color-oriented color choices for vehicles. While black is still dominant and will likely continue to be so into the foreseeable future, other colors have gained popularity, including yellow, white and blue or red. A quick glance at any dealer’s lot shows plenty of vehicles with these hues on them in addition to some that are covered in black.
With this changing color environment, automakers have begun offering their fleet vehicles vinyl wrap options that make it easier to match the vehicle’s exterior color. The growing array of new wraps can be used with existing decals as well as those from third-party companies. In fact, even aftermarket manufacturers like MagnaFlow, Kuryakyn and WrapMasters are selling these wraps in many different combinations.
That makes it difficult to choose which ones are most popular among consumers.
There are three general categories of 3M vinyl car wraps: vinyl graphics, full wraps, and cutouts. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. But we were surprised by how many people were not aware of all three types, especially since they’re often so closely related.
So here are 9 common types of 3M vinyl car wraps. We hope this gives you an idea of what to consider when making your car wrap purchase.
9 Types of 3M Vinyl Wraps for Cars (Listed in Order of Importance)
1 – Auto 3M Vinyl Graphics (aka Graphic Vinyl & Clear Wraps)
Vinyl graphics are similar to traditional decal wraps and are the least expensive type of car wraps. They consist of individual images, usually about 4 inches long by 2 1/2 inches high, that are attached directly to the body of your car with double-sided tape.
The main advantage of this type of wrap is that they are easy to apply without tools. You simply peel back the protective coating on the front and back side of the vinyl graphic sheet, position it over the surface you want to cover and re-apply the protective coating. Since the vinyl comes in only single colors, you use adhesive strips to attach them wherever possible. This prevents the vinyl from moving around on the vehicle once applied.
In addition to its low cost, another benefit is that vinyl graphic wraps are easy to remove later if you decide to switch paint jobs on your car. It can also easily withstand mild weather conditions — for example, salt rain — better than any other wrap category. Some vinyl graphics may require extra care to protect them against UV damage or fading.
However, vinyl graphics cannot take much abuse. If they get scratched, chipped or torn they tend to fail within a short period of time. Also, unlike many other types of car wraps, vinyl graphics come in very few sizes and shapes because each image has to be custom made. Thus, finding vinyl graphics in exactly the size and shape you need can prove challenging. On the flipside, vinyl graphics offer tremendous creative freedom. With a little bit of paper and scissors, you can create almost any design you want, just about anywhere on your car. They work best on flat surfaces like hoods, fenders or trunk lids.
While the basic colors offered by graphic vinyl sheets are limited (only six to seven), you do have the option of adding an additional layer of protection with two-tone or clear vinyl overlays. If you plan to install vinyl graphics on your vehicle, it’s probably a good idea to buy one of these overlays right out of the box.
2 – Full Vehicle 3M Vinyl Wraps
Full wraps are usually either full-scale graphics of specific designs, full-color full wrap panels or any combination thereof. There are several different types of full wraps depending on how they are assembled and packaged. We will discuss each of these below.
Full wraps are the most commonly used wraps because they combine all the benefits and flexibility of graphic vinyl with the durability of full-colored wraps. These types of wraps can be either pre-cut to fit the contours of most vehicles, or can be customized for your car using simple cutting tools or templates.
Full wraps are available in a wide variety of styles, including chrome, wood grain or stone looks. Like vinyl graphics, they are easy to install and have great adhesion. The downside is they look better on cars that have large gaps between paint sections. You can always add a second-layer overlay to close up areas where vinyl is missing, but it requires more work when choosing which part of the image to use.
To increase their lifespan, full wraps come with backing material already installed on both sides. This is typically another piece of thin plastic coated in protective film. For vinyl graphics, this is usually clear (single layer), except for two-tone overlays that come with a light base coat that helps prevent UV fade. Clear protective films can also be added during application. When installing a full wrap, the installer needs to carefully fold the film over itself to secure the top edges and then tuck the bottom edge inside the seam. A good installer will leave the ends exposed so they can be trimmed to even out the corners after installation.
When choosing a full wrap product, think about how likely you are to want to change the color. Will you want to change paint colors every two or four years? If so, you should stick with vinyl graphics; if you expect to move on to other colors relatively rapidly, you would be better served by choosing a full wrap system with its greater longevity.
3 – 3M Vinyl Cutouts
Cutouts aren’t really the same thing as vinyl graphics or full wraps. Instead, they represent a collection of vehicle elements that can be removed from the original color body panel. To use it on your car, you first remove the outermost color layer, usually either with a heat gun or a paint stripper. Next, you install the cutout itself. Depending on what you chose, it may be mounted temporarily with a strip of tape or permanently screwed to whatever substrate surrounds it. Finally, you finish decorating the exposed area with an appropriate decal.
It works especially well because it allows you to customize a vehicle element that might otherwise never see daylight. Unlike vinyl graphics and full wraps, cutouts don’t look any better on cars whose paint sections are spaced apart. But they can be installed faster and are much less expensive than vinyl graphics and full wraps. That’s because once you find the correct vinyl image file, you simply download it onto your computer and print it on your printer. To install the cutout, you simply peel off the protective coating, position it over the desired area, peel off the rest of the vinyl, and start applying decals over it.
And cutouts can help solve a major problem among auto designers. Many times, when creating a design for a vehicle component such as wheels or a grill, the designer wants to incorporate a logo element in the middle, but the overall width or height requirements won’t allow room for it. When working with vinyl graphics or full wraps, you end up with three options: keep the design but crop off parts of it, move the logo (or any other portion of the design) elsewhere, or compromise quality. Cutouts eliminate this problem. They give you more freedom to fully utilize each individual design element. For example, say you want to place a design over the rear bumper. Well, you could create a cutout that leaves an empty space there. However, if instead you create a cutout for the rear bumper only, you can now fit a logo or design anywhere else on the vehicle.
4 – Magnetic Stripe Decals For Cars/Trucks
Magnetic stripe stickers use magnetic strips rather than adhesive backed tape. Like vinyl graphics and full wraps, it is easiest to work with a template or stencil to mark out the exact shape needed for the sticker before attaching it. Then, you use an iron and an appropriate pad of contact paper to burn or fuse the contact paper to the back of the sticker.
You then peel away the protective film and begin applying decals over it. Once installed, though, the sticker tends to become visible again, so you’ll eventually want to put something behind it. And it is nearly impossible to remove it later. You have no choice but to keep it in place.
If you’ve ever wondered why the most common vehicle stickers used on rental cars don’t seem to wear off so quickly, this might give you a clue. While the magnetic stripe stickers are technically “stickless,” they must be placed onto metal or nonporous materials to function properly. That means they won’t do well applied to a car window. In fact, they’re most effective when applied to a hard object that sticks to the windscreen. And since windows are made out of acrylic or glass, they don’t work very well.
We’ve seen magnetic stickers on things as simple as plastic toaster handles and as complex as stainless steel aircraft engine valves. Even our friends at NASA have deployed them on their jet engines! And while it’s true they are somewhat permanent, when you remove the magnets you can reuse them again and again.
5 – High Temperature Stickers
High temperature stickers utilize both the magnetization and hot glue properties of magnetic strips to produce high performance stickers designed to hold up against extreme temperatures and harsh conditions. It should be noted that only select companies offer these types of products, but we were able to test one of the best. And according to its manufacturer, they are the perfect solution to the following problems:
Why install high temperature stickers?
- Keep vehicles clean and neat even in extremely snowy and rainy condition
- Increase visibility of certain components (like license plates, airbag warning lights, etc.) through transparent areas
- Attach securely and withstand extreme temperatures to maintain a good appearance (for instance, even on cars left outdoors during severe winter weather)
- Prevent any damage to vehicles by absorbing impacts from hail storms, flying stones, collisions and scratches from sharp objects
- Create the final finishing touch for custom automotive designs (like adding additional vehicle details onto an existing design)
Benefits of high-temperature rated stickers
Unlike magnetic stripes, which require special equipment to apply, all you need is an ordinary iron to perform all necessary steps. The product also requires neither preheating nor heating before application. This makes for fast, easy installation and removal, as well as easy cleanup after installation. It can stick effectively to any smooth surface including plastic, aluminum, chrome, glass and rubber, giving it one advantage over standard stickers and contact paper solutions. And unlike stickers that become tacky around the edges once installed, high-temperature magnetic stickers remain completely dry. Because the high-temperature bonding process does not change the adhesive bond strength, your installation will still come loose if pulled away. If you want to reposition it, just give it another firm stroke.
Once you get the hang of using magnets, it turns out you can attach almost anything with them. From hanging pictures and signs to using them for decorative purposes, magnets have limitless uses.
For example, they can be used to secure license plate frames and license plates to various surfaces. Or they can be added to vehicles to cover up scratched and dirty surfaces. Also, they can be employed to provide decoration, add security, and hide mechanical devices. One company even makes stickers with hidden compartments for storing small items such as valuables (more about them below).
While they typically cost less than regular stickers, they’re a little pricier than the typical adhesive backed ones. However, the cost per square inch is significantly lower than other applications. And since the magnetic property has no adverse reactions, they’re totally safe to apply to children’s toys without worrying that the product will break in half when they play with it!
6 – Magnetically Detachable Signs
When you want an inexpensive yet durable sign that stays put, a magnetic detachable car sign might be what you are looking for. Although vinyl signs tend to be more popular because of their longevity, high gloss finishes and durability, they lack an important feature. Unless you know how to make them yourself, you’ll likely have to go with a vinyl vendor who specializes in those kinds of products. To make matters worse, they are often too bulky to take on trips or put into storage facilities.
But there are alternatives available, like magnetically detachable signs. These are stickers that snap together with magnets. They consist of two main components — a sign holder and a sign. When you install the sign, you simply slide a magnet under the sign itself, and then slide on the sign. And when you remove it, slide the magnet under the sign holder and lift it straight up, letting the two separate easily along the lines marked for you.
Installing self-adhesive stickers
Although they’re sometimes called “self-adhesive” stickers, they require no adhesive backing. All you have to do is carefully align the signholder, insert the magnets on top (some models require it), and push down until locked into place. It works great and holds up well.
Because they require absolutely no adhesives, they tend to be slightly thinner than vinyl signs. Some also have a slightly higher price tag. But it’s a worthwhile investment. Not only do they reduce your overall sticker count, but they’re also much easier to store. And because they use magnets, they’re safer than vinyl signs. Of course, you have to purchase magnets separately. But with the number of different sizes and shapes they come in, they’re definitely worth the extra money.
More advantages of magnetically detachable signs/stickers
Another advantage of some of these types of stickers is the ability to change or replace the entire set of car signs quickly. You don’t need to buy new ones every time you want to update any part of your vehicle. For example, you can swap out your logo to match your new marketing campaign, or you can make any change to the sign that you desire. So if you notice a small dent on it or you want to change the wording on the side, you simply remove the current sign, install the replacement and replace it.
They come in a wide variety of colors, making it easy to coordinate them perfectly with all your current and upcoming advertising campaigns. Whether it’s a quick changeover for a special event or a more extensive redesign project, these products make designing and installing your vehicle signage a breeze. This kind of flexibility doesn’t exist with traditional methods, so it’s definitely a benefit.
The only drawback of many of these signs is their susceptibility to rust and corrosion. Since they rely on magnets to stay attached, they’re not ideal for outdoor installations such as vehicle bumpers. As mentioned earlier, though, the magnetized properties protect them against the damaging effects of UV rays and extreme temperatures. And although weatherproofing treatments tend to increase the likelihood of corrosion, they’re not mandatory. If you live where rust isn’t a concern, this type of product may be right for you.
7 – High Gloss Vinyl Car Signage Products
High gloss car signs are a great alternative to traditional vinyl car wraps. Just like any other vinyl car signs, they offer long-lasting protection and a high resistance to damage from road debris.
What sets them apart from others is the high-gloss finish applied before installation. High gloss vinyl comes ready to apply, which means there’s minimal setup required. Unlike the typical process, vinyl vendors don’t actually install the final artwork, instead they apply it themselves. After completing the design of your choice, the vendor ships everything you need back to their warehouse. While your artwork may still be a few days away, the finished high gloss vinyl sign will already be in front of you.
And since it has been pre-applied as opposed to being painted by hand, the cost per sticker tends to be lower, too. That makes them ideal for businesses with a large amount of signage needs. In fact, you can usually expect to save approximately $20-$40 over a comparable vinyl sign. And the best part is, you get the same quality and longevity, too.
However, one of the problems with high gloss vinyl is that they’re designed for indoor use. They’re typically installed indoors (or at least inside) and rarely see the elements outdoors. And although they can withstand snow, rain, sleet and other outside hazards just fine, they cannot endure direct sunlight, extreme cold, or prolonged periods of wetness and humidity.
Vinyl Car signs add protection to the surface of your vehicle
To combat that potential problem, most manufacturers include a special UV resistant coating (also known as “blackout”). Unfortunately, this coating doesn’t always last as long as you would hope, so if you’re constantly exposed to direct exposure to sunlight, the paint eventually wears off. It’s also difficult to tell whether it’s working correctly or not. Plus, it won’t cover up scratches or damage that might cause water to seep through. That’s why high gloss vinyl car signs aren’t considered very good weather-proof choices. But even with that drawback, they can still provide excellent protection from vandalism and road trauma. Just make sure you check whether the manufacturer recommends installing them in outdoor settings to avoid ruining them prematurely. Otherwise, expect them to fall victim to the elements after about two months. Even so, once you install them, you should be able to keep them relatively protected from the elements.
Cost of Vinyl Car Signs
As far as pricing goes, most vinyl car signs include free delivery with tracking included. The price varies depending on the size and type of sign you choose, but usually it falls between $20-500. Depending on the vendor and the quality of the materials used, you could pay anywhere from 50%-200% more than that. Plus, you’d have to add in additional costs associated with shipping and installation. For example, a 2’ x 4’ high gloss vinyl banner costs around $35 from a reputable vinyl company. While installation costs are negligible, shipping charges would be significant. If you paid a minimum $80 total, it could take two weeks to arrive. The estimated costs depend on the vendor and the package options selected. So be sure to review your order beforehand to ensure you’re getting the lowest rate possible.
8 – Digital Signage Display Solutions
This one really ties in with another category here. There are lots of display solutions out there, including digital signs, electronic displays and LED displays. However, the vast majority of them fall under the larger umbrella of digital signage. And that’s a pretty big umbrella. Digital Signage refers to any electronic information displayed to users via a touchscreen, monitor or television or computer screen. But within that broad definition, there are a lot of specific subcategories.
Commercial Digital Signage Systems Explained
So let’s break things down into a little more detail. One of the more common forms includes commercial digital signage systems. Commercial digital signage refers to any system designed specifically for business applications, including marketing, sales and employee recognition. Although they can range from simple static messages to highly dynamic programs, all have one thing in common. They contain various programs, data and content, which can automatically change based on real-time events or events triggered by the user. Examples of this vary widely, including news feeds, sports scores, financial updates, menu selections and more. However, all of these systems generally have similar features, such as:
Updating content can occur automatically or manually.
Automatic means a program updates content without any input from the user, while manual requires the user’s intervention in order to make changes or additions.
A digital sign is essentially a flat panel display. That’s true regardless of its application, meaning they’re perfect for a wide array of industries, including retail stores, convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants and food service establishments.
Digital signage has come a long way since it began. Today, it’s a versatile and affordable tool that can be customized to fit nearly any need. And businesses who incorporate it into their branding have seen remarkable results. It allows you to connect directly with customers, providing them personalized content. That helps build loyalty. Customers appreciate the ability to make personalized purchases without going through a human or automated phone line. They don’t mind talking to a faceless voice on the other end of the phone anymore. But they do care about getting something personal and meaningful. And this is where digital signage can shine brightest.
With the proper tools, you can create a simple message and deliver that information to a targeted group of consumers. It gives you the opportunity to convey an emotion or idea, which can go a long way towards changing consumer perceptions. With the right content, you’ve got the chance to promote your brand, share exciting news and generate positive feelings among your target audience. This sort of marketing strategy is invaluable when you’re trying to turn a customer into a loyal fan.
In addition to its role in boosting revenues, digital signage can help you achieve additional goals. Whether you want to expand online, get more traffic to your website or improve consumer satisfaction, incorporating digital signs can give you the upper hand.
Digital Signage in Retail Applications
An excellent example might be the retail industry. When people visit a store, they want to feel welcome and enjoy a pleasant experience, regardless of whether they come in to shop or merely browse. Digital retail signage can play a huge role in making that happen. People know the importance of a good first impression. That goes double at a brick-and-mortar establishment. If a visitor sees a well-designed storefront displaying welcoming, attractive graphics, they’re primed to spend time exploring and potentially buy products or services on the spot. Retailers that want to increase sales and make a great first impression should consider digital signage.
Challenges with Digital Signs
One of the biggest challenges associated with digital signage is deciding what type of system to install. The size, complexity and cost of each varies widely. So if you’ve never installed one before, you may be wondering if you even need to consider this option. Fortunately, the answer isn’t quite so simple. A quick Google search will reveal a wealth of examples highlighting everything from how large your particular business is and how much money you intend on pouring into the installation to the many types of displays available in any given format.
If you’ve ever walked past a busy, bustling restaurant, you already know how important digital signage can be. A high percentage of successful businesses have incorporated some form of it into their strategy, as they see it as a powerful tool to boost their bottom line and serve as a gateway to potential new opportunities. It works to reinforce positive impressions and reinforce negative ones. And it plays an integral part in many customer retention tactics as well. From encouraging loyalty among repeat visitors to enticing new shoppers, digital signage can help you reach new heights.
Is it worth my business/restaurant investing in digital signage?
How much is the ideal amount? Well, that depends entirely upon your particular circumstances. Generally speaking, as soon as your budget permits, you should consider implementing some kind of digital signage solution. Even if it’s just a small piece, incorporating this tool can greatly enhance any business model. You could use displays to communicate special offers, promote special events or simply provide a more personal approach to your company’s presence. Whatever you choose, it’s important to remember that not every business uses it in the exact same way. And that’s perfectly fine.
But for those who decide they want to take advantage of digital signage technology and start using it, it’s wise to go a step further and think about how best to implement it. After all, it wouldn’t be fair to expect you to figure everything out on your own. That’s why the experts at Tinting Titans offer their expertise. We can help guide you through the ins and outs of this exciting technology and tell you exactly what options are available to suit your needs. In short, we’ll help you pick the best choice based on your intended goal.
Expert Digital Sign Solution Engineers
We can also explain how each solution differs. From video walls to smart glass to LCD displays, our team has been helping retailers across America implement digital displays for over 20 years now. We understand what different models suit different situations and we know exactly what makes each unit unique.
It pays to choose wisely, as installing the wrong model can result in wasted time and resources and not produce the desired results. That’s probably true for any business endeavor. But that’s especially true when the task involves selecting a digital display solution.
Benefits of digital signage
There are a number of reasons why digital signage can benefit your company. For instance, many experts agree that it’s far superior to traditional methods, such as posters or banners. While you can print off any image, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It’s an impersonal, ineffective means of conveying information. As someone once said, “What can I say? I didn’t like it.” The truth is, you can communicate just as effectively through a well-designed and properly placed billboard. Unlike most displays, billboards can actually make a statement about your business. By utilizing a specific color scheme, artwork and design you become more than a poster board. Consumers respond better and can associate you with a feeling. It’s almost impossible to walk away thinking, “I liked her work. But I was definitely unimpressed with her logo.”
Forget about the old advertising days, when companies simply slapped up a banner and hoped for the best. Those days are gone. Instead, invest in creative digital signage that’s eye-catching and compelling. That helps you reach your potential. That’s true in business as well as politics.
The power of digital signage extends beyond your current location too. Since it’s portable, you can easily utilize it anywhere you travel. You don’t need to worry about transporting thousands of pounds worth of equipment or having to set up a booth in your retail store. Instead, you can literally take the equipment along with you anywhere you go. And because consumers often find the devices interesting to investigate, you get extra exposure. Think how much attention a mobile device attracts as compared to a flat screen TV sitting on a table.
As you can imagine, being able to use the technology virtually anywhere has proven extremely beneficial to businesses of all sizes. Consider the fact many retailers offer free wifi hotspots during peak times. These can be used in conjunction with GPS devices to pinpoint your exact location. Then, as you drive around, you can display information on your vehicle’s windshield on the road. There’s no need to be trapped behind walls. Simply put, you can now remain connected everywhere you go.
Of course, the benefits aren’t limited to the outside world. In the office environment, you have plenty of options. While an open space isn’t always practical, digital signage does allow you to showcase key pieces of information, such as special announcements, promotions or product releases. In smaller spaces, you never have to worry about finding room for a large bulky display. All you need are a couple monitors strategically located throughout an area.
Think about it. If you plan ahead, you can take full advantage of the technology to improve your day-to-day operations. It opens up a whole new avenue of communication that you weren’t expecting. Now, you can keep in touch with customers and staff remotely. You can post special notifications, including deals or events. In essence, you’re giving yourself an instant direct line to your audience. If someone wants to talk or share something new, all you need to do is pull out your smartphone. It’s a simple process that saves everyone time, effort and frustration.
9 – 3M Car Window Films for Tinting
A Low-Cost Window Film Solution
Window films are great solutions for all kinds of window tint. They are ideal for car windows. They can improve the looks of your vehicle. You can get the desired effect at a low price.
Benefits of 3M Window Films
According to the manufacturers, window film solutions reduce sunlight penetration, reflect heat inside your vehicle, and improve the visibility of interior accessories like stereo controls and instrument panels. Another benefit is that window films are a way for you to customize the look of your vehicle in a quick, inexpensive manner. No matter what type of vehicle you own, you can get the exact look you’re looking for with the window film solution.
Window film is applied using heat transfer or lamination methods. Some companies use a combination of these two methods. Either type works equally well. But remember that depending on how you implement window film, you may be limited regarding the style of window you can install it in. The only issue is that window film is made up of multiple layers of film material laminated together. As a result, it might be difficult to tell where the film begins and ends. This is why window tint experts recommend having a professional install window film, rather than doing it yourself. That way you can easily achieve the look you desire, rather than guessing. In most cases, professionals charge between $150-$350, especially for custom designs. That makes them quite expensive compared to standard roll-down window film solutions.
But there are always ways to save money, even when buying new window film products and techniques. First, you can buy factory-cut rolls of film. This option saves you time because you won’t have to cut off pieces manually. Rather, your installer does it for you without any extra charges. Another cheap way is to ask your window tints dealer to trim a piece of the film to size for you. If he can do so, then he can probably be willing to take the extra step as part of his service. Of course, it depends on the quality of the installation job and how much work you would prefer not to do yourself. If none of those options work for you, you have a few other options too. You could spend about $20 and purchase a kit of the same size rolls of film that your installer used. You could simply tape the film down from the top and bottom. Or you could tape the sides of the film, creating an “apron” effect around the edges of the glass.
DIY Window Film Installation
Finally, if you’d like to do some DIY cutting, you could try using household scissors. Depending on the number and size of the windows involved, you may be able to safely use normal fabric shears or utility kitchen scissors. Before installing window film, first consider whether you want to cut and install window film yourself. If you already know exactly what you want to achieve, then you may not need professional help. If you aren’t sure about the project, though, it pays to work with an expert installer. In addition, you may find that the installation itself takes longer than expected. Be sure to account for that extra time. If you opt to cut your own window film, be very careful when choosing scissors and working closely with protective gloves. You can save a bit of money and avoid mistakes by choosing the roll-down window tint that’s closest to 1″. This will make it easier to trim yourself.