When does it become a wrap?

When does it become a wrap?

Technologies and production methods have changed in most industries and the signage and graphics industry is no exception. Thirty plus years ago clients were asking us to paint their vans, a decade later it became ‘we need our vans stickered’ and these days it is “can you wrap my van”?

This leads to the question of what is a wrap and what is traditional lettering or sign writing?

Over the last decade as vinyl film technologies have improved leading to the current wrap products that have made their way into the market and mainstream media, the term wrapping has become synonymous with vehicle signage in general which is not the case.

Vehicle wrapping is in essence changing the colour of a vehicle or vehicle components by wrapping them in a coloured vinyl. This is called a colour change and is distinct from branding which is placing corporate logos and or text onto vehicles to brand them as business vehicles.

So the question of ‘when does it become a wrap’ can be answered by explaining that a wrap covers partial or whole sections of a vehicles bodywork by moulding ‘wrapping’ the vinyl film into the panel recesses and conforming the film around panel curves.

Vehicle signage consisting of logos and text without the need to conform into panel recesses is not wrapping, this is branding and usually referred to as spot deals with vinyl lettering.

Do you need a wrap to create impact?

Absolutely not! In fact some of the most impactful head turning vehicles we have seen leave the workshop are produced as large format vinyl lettering and spot decals. Its about creating the best solution not wrapping for the sake of wrapping.

So why do you need a wrap?

Wrapping is most suited for businesses with products that are visual, often three dimensional images or photographs and complex artworks with layered gradients that can only be print produced to create the overall effect.

For simple plain block letter branding and colours it is better to use pre coloured vinyls as they are more impactful and durable.

 What’s the cost of a wrap?

Vehicle wraps are priced on artwork design and set up as well as coverage, vehicle size and installation complexity such as whether vehicle components such as handles, lights, trims, grilles etc. need to be removed and replaced after wrapping.

Often wrap solutions are dependent on a client’s budget which dictates the coverage and the installation time and complexity.

The common options are full vehicle wraps for LWB Vans at ($5-$6K), half wraps, ($3-$4K) quarter wraps ($1.8-$3K) and anywhere in between solely dependent on the design solution for that particular project and the number of vehicles being wrapped which saves material and set up costs.

To add to this consider the creation of the artwork either by a third party Graphic Designer or a sign supplier’s internal team which can cost from $250 upwards.

What’s the durability, maintenance and ongoing costs of a wrap?

Wraps are generally laminated with a UV laminate protecting the inks to help prevent against fading and protecting against minor road damage. It is recommended to wash wrapped films with soap and water every week to keep free from contaminants and bird droppings. Laminated films can also be cleaned with methylated spirits and some clients choose to polish their wraps.

Wrap removal should also be mentioned as this is a cost to be factored in at the back end. Modern film adhesives are user friendly and don’t leave glue residue if taken off with care under the right conditions. Removals are charged on an hourly basis and can be anywhere from $300 into the thousands for large vehicles and films over 5 year old.


Wraps may or may not be the best approach for your vehicle branding and you should consult with a professional vehicle graphics supplier for your best options.

At the end of the day its about creating the best solution, within budget, to represent your business brand based on your objectives of either ‘head turning wow factor’ to generate enquiry or basic brand awareness.