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Partial wraps: friend or foe?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When the budget isn’t there for a full wrap, clients often shoot for a compromise—wrapping part of the vehicle to get some of the look of a full wrap without the expense. It’s understandable, but the partial wrap has its own set of design and sales challenges.

SignCraft asked three sign designers who do lots of vehicle graphics for their ideas on making the most of partial wraps: Doug Downey [], Brian Johnson [] and Joe Ryan []. You’ll see and hear more from them on partial wraps in the Sep/Oct issue of SignCraft, too, so don’t miss it.

The object isn’t to sell a wrap. Full wraps can be very effective, but if the budget isn’t there, keep the focus on designing effective vehicle graphics for clients.

“I explain that we do lots of vehicle graphics and many are wraps,” says Joe Ryan. “We can use the whole vehicle without doing a wrap. I point out that the goal is to get them the advertising they need, not just do a wrap. I would much rather the client felt that they chose the most effective advertising than that they settled for a partial wrap. I try to keep the focus on what we want to achieve with the advertising rather than how we produce and install it.”

Joe Ryan, Adventure29, Rockport, Maine

Keep the layout balanced. It can be a challenge for the sign designer to create a layout that doesn’t look like the graphics have just been squeezed to the back half of the vehicle to cut costs. The layout has to be balanced and incorporate more, if not most, of the vehicle. Sometimes the combination of a printed image and cut vinyl lettering is a better solution.

“I often do something from the rear fender back,” says Brian, “along with the back window, but also keep some copy up front. There are plenty of ways to approach it. Sometimes I use a large graphic on the side with cut vinyl lettering—or maybe something in the design that makes it split the vehicle. That works best if it is intentional and fits the vehicle.”

Brian Johnson, 
Signature Signs, London, Ontario, Canada

Give them the opportunity to upgrade to a full wrap. Before moving to a partial wrap or other options, make sure that it’s not just a matter of “sticker shock” more so than their budget. There’s still the opportunity to sell the power of a full wrap if it would work better for the situation.

“To me, many of the partial wraps you see have far less impact than a full wrap,” says Doug Downey. “The customer is giving up a lot to save a little. When that happens, it's not a good value for them.

“One of the options I give a client who would really benefit from a full wrap is a payment plan. They pay the amount of the partial wrap up front, then pay the balance over the next six months.


Partial wrap drawing above; full wrap version below

Doug Downey, CreativeInk Design Group, Stratford, Ontario, Canada

“Beyond the extra advertising value of a full wrap, a wrap will save them money if the vehicle is leased. When the wrap comes off, the paint will be in perfect shape.

“If the budget is really tight, I usually don't approach the design so much as a wrap. I may use a printed graphic and the rest in cut vinyl lettering. The client may see that as a partial wrap, but it’s not.”



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