Reflective adhesive vinyl, or reflective, is a material that reflects light. It doesn’t create light; it isn’t lit, and you don’t notice it in the daylight. It reflects light in the dark such as vehicle headlamps.

How is it Made?

There are two types of reflective adhesive vinyl material:

Retroflective – contains small glass beads that reflect light

Prismatic – is layered with very small prisms that reflect light

Reflective material is manufactured to different compliances; while some may be suitable for flat surfaces, such as a traffic sign or a side door law enforcement shield, they may not be suitable for 3 dimensional applications. Materials rated at higher levels of compliance may be required to bend around curves and corners.

How is it Used?

The use of reflective material on most emergency vehicles is regulated and/or mandated. Ambulances, fire vehicles, police cruisers, and other first responders use reflective vinyl in varying degrees. Reflectives are used on signage; from stop signs to wayfinders they light the way. But this shiny material isn’t limited to government agencies.

At TKO Graphix and TKO Signs, we’ve used reflective materials on a variety of commercial and private projects. We’ve used reflective on company buses and golf carts, and we’ve made signs with company logos, images, and backgrounds using reflective vinyl. The uses for this material are only limited by imagination. I saw a work truck on the road the other day using stylized lightning in the background—reflective lightning would certainly grab attention. A sign at a local eatery features a sunrise; wouldn’t a reflective sun be something to see as cars pulled into the lot after dark?

Reflective adhesive vinyl does a lot of good. Used on traffic signs it informs of the road ahead. Stop. Curve. Yield. Slow. It helps us identify emergency vehicles on their appointed rounds so we can give them the right of way. But reflective can be used on almost any sign, billboard, or vehicle. If you’d like to learn more about reflective adhesive vinyl just shine a light our way. It will reflect well on you.

Here’s more about reflective – 3M Graphics Solutions.

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