The Vehicle Graphics Market

Apr 4, 2011

The market for vehicle graphics is comprised of automotive dealers, businesses and car enthusiasts.

Graphics and pinstriping are a good source of revenue with good profit margins for restyling shops.

Graphics customers look for kits that are simple and subdued: smaller body line stripes, rocker stripes and kits that accentuate body lines.

Trends and influences on the vehicle graphics market arise from the restyling industry, the automotive industry and popular culture.

Trend factors from the restyling industry:

  • Colors, graphic styles, pinstriping, cutting and printing equipment
  • Trend factors from the automotive industry:
  • Vehicle styles and popularity, marketing, availability of factory-installed accessories

Trend factors from popular culture:

  • Employment and the economy
  • Vehicle sales
  • Movies, video games, music
  • Trends are cyclical

Historically the pinstripe was used to accent body lines and has always had a transformative effect on the look of a vehicle, even dating from Egyptian and Roman periods. Pinstriping remains one of the lowest cost methods for owners to customize their vehicles. Modern pinstriping may be hand painted, cut from vinyl, purchased as a kit, or be a combination of various techniques.

Car dealers prefer pinstriping as an affordable method of customizing inventory, both new and used. Dealers tend toward simple, neutral-colored stripes and graphics.

Retro-looking racing stripes are resurging in popularity, driven in part by owners of a new generation of muscle cars. Dodge Charger, Challenger and Avenger lead the way with owners demanding both new- and old-style rally striping. Mustang and Camaro owners also look for new styles and variations on successful trends of the past.

Adhesive-backed vinyl products include premade vinyl graphic kits, vinyl striping, decorative graphics, vinyl signage and lettering.

Pre-made vinyl graphics offer significant business opportunities for restyling shops and are effective for wholesale dealership clients as well as individual retail clients.

Vinyl cutting and digital printing equipment have made it possible for many shops to produce custom vehicle graphics and to realize higher profit margins.

Cutting and printing equipment can also be used to produce a variety of additional custom film-based products: window film, paint protection film and commercial vehicle signage and vehicle wraps.

Vehicle wraps design, printing and installation can be the basis of a creative business endeavor with a reasonable potential for profit. Full and partial vehicle wraps have become a cost-effective means of advertising.

Wrap production and installation learning curve is significantly less with a background in graphic arts, web design, wide-format printing or advertising.

Wraps Production Equipment:

  • Computer with sufficient memory capacity
  • Suitable graphics software (e.g., Photoshop, CorelDraw)
  • Printer
  • Laminator
  • Squeegee and miscellaneous hand tools


  • Media (predominantly vinyl, but advances are being made in other materials)
  • Laminate
  • Ink

Popular digital inkjet printing equipment for producting wraps:

  • Roland VP-540 54″
  • Mimaki JV33-160 64″
  • Mutoh ValueJet 64″
  • HP 9000s 64″
  • Roland SP-540V
  • Mimaki JV3 54″

Laminator Choices

Laminator should be at least the same size as the printer to completely laminate the vinyl.

Laminator manufacturers:

  • AGL
  • Neschen/Seal
  • GBC

Ink Choices

  • Solvent inks
  • Mild solvent inks
  • UV-curable inks

Manufacturers of vinyl wrap media:

  • 3M
  • Arlon
  • Avery
  • LG Hausys
  • Mactac
  • Oracal