So, even if you’re not familiar with reflective adhesive vinyl  material you’ve seen it on emergency vehicles and traffic signage. In 1937, 3M developed a reflective tape and by 1973 reflective sheeting was available. Today, retroreflective material is commonplace.

How it Works

“The simplest retroreflector is a glass sphere or bead. When a light beam is directed at it, the majority of the light bounces off it. But a significant amount passes through the front surface (facing the light source). And then is bent or refracted roughly towards the center of the rear surface.” – History of Retroreflective materials. Reflective is extremely effective on vehicles and road signs at night because light sources, such as headlights, shined on the material are sent back to the source.

Why use it

In this white paper from FEMA–Emergency Vehicle Visibility they share, “The purpose of making any vehicle conspicuous goes further than simply enhancing its visibility. While catching the eye of another driver is the “first thing,” the larger goal is to help provide other drivers with information about a vehicle’s presence, size, position, speed, and direction of travel.” The importance of catching the eye of another driver isn’t limited to emergency vehicles. Any vehicle graphic and most signs could be enhanced by the use of reflective material.

How to use it

Reflective material can be used in conjunction with non-reflective adhesive vinyl. For example, a commercial vehicle might use non-reflective on a full wrap except for the call to action. Displaying phone numbers and website on reflective make them pop. I recently saw a full wrap work van for an electrical contractor that had lightning shooting across the vehicle—a great opportunity for reflective. Unlike the reflective material of a decade ago, today’s retroreflective sheeting is thinner, more compliable, and therefore easier to work with. Like most adhesive vinyl’s it can be printed and comes in a wide assortment of colors.

How could you use it?

Reflective material has been in use for more than 70 years, so most of us take it for granted. We expect reflective material on street signs and emergency vehicles. We don’t expect to see reflective integrated in vehicle graphic design. Because if the point of vehicle graphics is to stand out and send your message to the masses shouldn’t you do something…unexpected? Consider reflective as part of your next vehicle graphic. Your phone number, logo, or tagline could all be made to stand out. If you’d like to discuss how to use reflective on your vehicles contact us it will reflect well on your organization.