Design & Price: Vehicle wrap for a VW Beetle

By signcraft

Posted on Friday, October 8th, 2021

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In every issue, SignCraft gives a few sign makers an imaginary project. We ask them to do a sketch of the sign they might have produced, and to quote a price for the job. Most of the details are left to the designer’s imagination. The object is to see how different sign makers approach the same project. Here’s the scenario these sign makers were given:

The owner of an auto parts store that specializes in customizing Volkswagen Beetles wants an eye-catching, full vehicle wrap for his “shop truck”, which is a brand-new VW Beetle. He doesn’t have a logo yet, but stresses that he wants bright colors and something that will stand out.

Make a sketch of what you might suggest and quote a price.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2007 issue of SignCraft Magazine. The prices have been adjusted for inflation.


Joseph Diaz, Diaz Sign Art Pontiac, Illinois

We’d approach this job as more than just a vehicle wrap. This company needs a logo first and foremost, so we would want to sell a full identity before going any further. We want to get out of the habit of doing logo designs for free just because we want to sell a vehicle job. It’s a way of insuring that we get more design and sign work from this individual in the future. We don’t necessarily have to design every aspect of the identity now, but if the client knows that we have kept these things in mind when we designed their logo, they will most likely come back to us when they need these things done. For this project we included the logo design fee with the overall wrap design fee.

We chose to keep this theme fun and creative. It’s hard to take this particular car too seriously because it has a real “cartoon” look. We wanted to get the ladybug element in there somewhere, and decided to include it in the form of a small cartoon that is part of the design. The design also includes small, very subtle VW logos throughout. It’s a nice way to add a little texture to an otherwise flat background while focusing on the customer’s business.

We gave the customer two design/price options. The customer initially asked for a full wrap, but probably doesn’t understand the difficulty of wrapping this particular vehicle; so we thought it would be wise to offer another choice. This second option would be identical to the first, except we would omit the fenders and bumpers, which are the most difficult and time-consuming part of the vehicle to wrap. This approach would save the customer over $1000 of production time and materials, and would also reduce turn-around time.

We realize that taking a step like this would mean collecting a slightly lower profit, but our goal is to create long-lasting relationships with our customers. If the client sees that we are looking out for his or her best interest by helping them save money—while our profit margin stays the same—we can be sure to get more work from this company in the future.

Option 1 Full wrap:

Logo and wrap design: $900

Materials: $1800

Production labor: $2600

Cleaning and prep: $200

Total: $5500

Option 2 Wrap without fenders and bumpers:

Logo and wrap design: $900

Materials: $1100

Production labor: $1725

Cleaning and prep: $200

Total: $3925

We require a $400 deposit before we start designing, and a signature of final design approval before we begin production.


Gary Levine, Yipes! Signs and Graphics Burlington, Vermont

When a customer comes in with a VW Beetle and a slogan like Cool Stuff For Your Bug, it’s impossible to resist using insects as a theme. We tried to keep it fun and colorful. We also tried to use an interesting background that was random enough to look good with all of the complex curves and multiple surfaces on the Bug. It saves a lot of time and headaches when it comes to installing if we’re not constantly pulling our hair out trying to line up an image around a compound curve.

Vinyl: $3250

Install: $1400

Total: $4650

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