Correctly marking your fleet with your name and logo creates a positive image for your company’s overall brand.
Whether it’s marking new fleet additions, adopting a logo change, or just freshening up old worn graphics, choosing the right fleet marking type and material is important.
Start by getting an idea of how you want your name and logo to display against the body panel.
Will the body panel color be the background you want? Or will you need a graphic that incorporates a background that differs from the body panel color to which it will be applied?
Will the graphic be applied to a flat area of the panel, or will it be applied over an area of the body panel that has a complex curve or formed rib?
Do you want a graphic with longevity, or with a more temporary adhesive that allows for easy removal?
Read on to find out how different styles and material options will affect your application.
There are two basic styles of fleet marking graphics to consider:
1) shape-cut decals that incorporate individual outline cutout letters and other graphic elements such as logos; assembled and applied to create the overall graphic presentation.
2) solid decals that incorporate all of the graphics elements printed and represented collectively on a single piece of material.
For the purposes of this blog, we’ll ignore whole and partial vehicle wraps. These are generally used as flashy wheeled advertisements for retail brands and services; whereas electrical and other service utilities generally, just wish to utilize ‘spot’ graphics to identify their name and logo.
Shape-cut decals that incorporate individual graphic elements provide a very high-end appearance. These types of decals are made from special ‘electrocut’ vinyl, that is cut by a digital computer controlled swivel-knife.
The excess material surrounding the graphic elements is then removed or ‘weeded’ away. A removable pre-mask/pre-spacing tape is then applied over the face of the entire graphic, that keeps the individual graphic elements in correct proximity to one another while applying.
The color of the body panel to which the graphic is applied basically becomes the background color that is seen between the individual elements.
Solid decals are essentially a single, large, sticker. These decals are typically rectangular or composed of other combined simple die-cut polygonal shapes or curves.
The background of these graphics is the material itself; whether it’s intrinsic color or other printed background.
With either of these decal types, consider how they will layout and present on the body panel to which they will be applied.
If the surface is contoured the graphic may appear distorted when applied. Larger solid decals may not apply without wrinkles or puckers over a surface that has complex curvatures.
Materials, Longevity, and Other Features
Cast vinyl is almost exclusively used for fleet graphics because it is highly conformable, comes in many colors, is resistant to fuel residues and other highway grime, and exhibits excellent durability to the wind, abrasion, and harsh weathering elements a vehicle traveling at highway speeds is subjected to.
High-quality cast vinyls used for fleet decal applications can be expected to last between five and eight years.
Electrical and other service utilities also desire retroreflective materials because they offer greater conspicuity, especially at night when illuminated by headlights and nearby area lighting.
There are special fleet-grade vinyl reflective materials available that are designed for fleet decal applications.
Fleet graphics are typically larger decals. Therefore specialty adhesive features are often utilized for fleet graphics that have micro air-release channels structured into the adhesive to facilitate the evacuation of air bubbles that may be trapped under the decal during installation.
Another adhesive option available with these vinyls is a ‘slideable’, less grabby adhesives that allow for ease of repositioning/alignment during installation. Firm and complete adhesion is accomplished by rubbing the surface of the decal down with firm pressure.
Lastly, fleet grade vinyls may be had with a removable adhesive option. This may be a less permanent adhesive engineered for easy removal of shorter-term graphics, or a permanent adhesive that allows for long-term removability without leaving tough to remove adhesive residue or worse, damaging the underlying paint finish.
If you don’t know how to use these features to apply your fleet decals cleanly, consider having them applied professionally.
The last material that might be considered for fleet graphics are flexible magnetic door signs, that may be removed and replaced at will.
Door magnet signs should be made from the heavier, 30 mil material that demonstrates greater magnetic strength and stays put at highway speeds.
The Electromark Advantage
Electromark offers all of the fleet graphic types, materials, and options detailed here.
Let our sales team help you with the options we have available, and the decision between which will best suit your applications!
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I have been in my present role as Technical Sales and Application Engineer with Electromark for 9+ years, and with the company for 14 years. My earlier experience with the company was with our printing and other manufacturing operations. My knowledge with Electromark and the industries it serves includes materials, products, process capabilities, weathering durability, regulations, and standards. See my Linkedin profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandon-furber-0036644a/
With over 40 years of experience, Electromark specializes in identification and safety marking solutions for the electrical utility industry, other service utilities, and the outdoor industrial workplace. Our products are engineered for the harsh, outdoor environment.