It seems like a funny question coming from a fleet graphics provider, doesn’t it? Does your fleet send the wrong message? How can a fleet send the wrong message? There are several ways, and some of the reasons sneak up on you.

A Bad Sign

A few years ago, while working with a sign company, I wrote about a company that was doing a total rebrand, which included signage. The monument sign in front of their building had nothing to do with their business. And to make it worse, the sign fronted a busy thoroughfare. It was a cartoonish character made of rings of metal with a bug-like face and stick-figure limbs. The sign not only didn’t represent the core of the organization – it was at least misleading and, at worst laughable. It didn’t speak well of the business. The last I knew it languishes in the backroom of the business.

The Point

So, here’s my point. Even though this story was about a sign, it can be said for fleet graphics as well. If your fleet graphics don’t represent your business, then they’re the wrong wrap. It may not be that the graphics are silly, like the sign, it can be as simple as they don’t tell your story.


Has your business moved on, but your fleet graphics haven’t? It’s easy to do. For example, your graphic design team updates your logo, or your advertising campaign takes a new turn, but your fleet doesn’t join the party. We see it all the time.

The Wrong Message 

Recently I saw a delivery van parked at a local chain restaurant. The graphics advertised a special offer. Unfortunately, the special offer had expired. It was last year’s marketing campaign. The message changed, but the fleet graphics didn’t. It was the wrong message.

Has your message changed, has your brand been updated, do you have a new story or mission? If so, be sure your fleet graphics have kept up with the times.

Worn Out

The best adhesive vinyl vehicle graphics are good for about five to seven years, and that’s if they’re well maintained. Other factors, such as climate, color, and use, can affect fleet graphics’ longevity.

Adhesive vinyl provider Avery Dennison says, “On average, Avery Dennison vehicle wraps that are properly installed will not fade, crack or peel for up to 5 years in most locations.”

It’s Not One Thing 

In Wrap film series 1080, 3M shares these factors that affect graphic performance life.

“The actual performance life of a graphic is affected by:

  • Selection, condition, and preparation of the substrate.
  • Surface texture.
  • Application methods.
  • Angle and direction of sun exposure.
  • Environmental conditions.
  • Cleaning or maintenance methods.”

“High-quality graphic films will stand the test of time in a variety of climates. However, not all films are built to withstand rigorous road conditions. A key determinant of a wrap’s longevity is the durability of the film. A film’s durability refers to its strength against elements such as weathering and other outdoor exposures. Lesser quality films are more likely to fail under harsh outdoor conditions over a shorter period.” — 5 film factors to consider when wrapping your fleet.

Damaged Goods 

Fleet graphics wear due to damage – rips, tears, and scratches, as well as lack of care, and fading. “Use a quality overlaminate on all of your graphics. Lamination not only protects against abrasion and improves the finish; it also provides a built-in layer of UV protection that helps protect the colors from fading and helps prevent the deterioration of media in sunlight. Matzen recommends another tip for her clients: “Rotate the vehicle so the intensity of the sun isn’t beating mostly on one side.” — Sign & Digital Design Magazine: Preparation and Maintenance For a Long Term Wrap


I recall a summer event at a local park, which included a food truck. The food truck was wrapped – sort of. It had highly pixelated food images, edges that didn’t meet up, and bubbles in the vinyl. I asked the server, who happened to be the owner of the truck, about the wrap. It had been designed and installed by his brother-in-law. He proudly shared how much money he saved. I didn’t say anything, but did he really? Did he save money or hurt his business? He’s no longer in business. Was it because of the wrong wrap? Probably not, but the wrap didn’t help, did it?

The Dark Side 

“It’s a sad event when anyone or anything turns to the dark side. When short cuts are taken instead of projects given the due diligence needed to achieve the best results. When best practices are pushed aside for expediency or experience, and know-how are downplayed and ignored, that’s when the dark side looms. That’s vehicle graphics gone bad. It’s where they live. Don’t go to the dark side. OK, I might be a little overdramatic. Maybe. But there are amateurs as well as vehicle graphics providers that live on the dark side. They only thing they provide is disappointment.” — Vehicle Graphics Gone Bad — 7 Ways Vehicle Graphics Go Bad

The Best Installers

“So, how to find the best vehicle graphics installers isn’t one size fits all. You want to find experienced and certified installation teams that fit your needs. For example, a full wrap with complex curves takes a much higher level of training than applying a decal on a flat area such as a door. And to be certain you should look at their work. Another consideration is how long has the company been in business and how tenured is the installation team. And it doesn’t hurt to ask the installation team about their training program.” — How to Find the Best Vehicle Graphics Installers

Not Your Goal

Do your fleet graphics help you reach your organizational goals? To answer that first, you must know and then prioritize your goals. What is it you want your vehicle wraps to achieve? Is it unified branding leading to name recognition? Could it be lead generation and sales? How about setting yourself above your competition and sharing your USP (Unique Sales Proposition). Are you striving for customer retention and consumer loyalty?

The Key

The key is to know what’s most important to your mission and then design the wrap to share your message. Your marketing/advertising goals should match your business goals. If not, it’s not your goal, and it could lead to a – bad wrap. The wrong wrap has the wrong goal or no specific goal.

So, Does Your Fleet Send the Wrong Message? 

The wrong message is often obvious to the outsider but not to the stakeholders. It’s the forest for the tree’s syndrome. The wrong message can sneak up on you by being outdated, worn out, and tired.

It could be because your fleet graphics don’t mirror your organization’s professionalism or share your business goals, culture, or mission.

If such is the case, then it’s time to reset the clock and bring your fleet graphics back to life. The wrong wrap sends the wrong message, and that’s not what your business needs or wants.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your fleet graphics needs, be sure to reach out to us. Please don’t hesitate to Contact Us. We won’t lead you down the wrong path.