Just as there are many different facades for building signs, there are many different types of vehicles for vehicle graphics. However, our canvas is rarely flat like an exterior building wall. Vehicles not only have contours but doors and windows that we need to consider for the design. Whether we’re doing a wrap or spot graphics, we need to take the shape of the vehicle into consideration when deciding where the graphics are going to go. The best way to avoid vehicles from looking warped or getting cut off is to put them on the flattest surface that you can find on the vehicle. This is why many vehicle graphics are placed on doors.
We do many forms of signage for Forest Lawn Memorial Parks & Mortuaries including numerous vehicle graphics. Recently, they needed graphics for a few vans. The main area where you want to avoid putting vehicle graphics on a van is the track for the sliding door. You obviously can’t put a graphic there without a huge gap or risking ruining the vinyl, and if you want the two sides of your vehicle to match, you won’t want to put a graphic in the same area on the other side, even if there isn’t a track.
Another area that you want to try to avoid is anywhere that has a dramatic contour. Putting graphics there wouldn’t be detrimental, but depending on what you choose to display, the graphic can look warped from certain angles. The vans we were working with did have a slight contour going horizontally through the middle of the vehicle, but it wasn’t drastic enough to worry about.
As I mentioned before, doors are the most common space to put graphics. Although the contour continues on the door of this van, we were only putting a small graphic of the logo there so it wasn’t something to worry about. On the rear, we did vinyl lettering for the logo and the company’s contact information in their company color. We did this by digitally printing the color first before plotting out the lettering. As you can see, the additional smaller lettering was applied right underneath the contour of the door to make sure that none of the letters would be warped.
These vans didn’t have windows so we used the large, flat space on the sides for the main graphic. This worked out very well, and there is only a slight gap where the sliding door is on one side.