The other day I was chatting with two of TKO Graphix certified employee installers when the conversation got around to communication with customers. I asked what vehicle graphics terms they wished every customer understood and more importantly what words would help customers better express their wishes.

Breaking Down Communication Breakdowns

Whether it’s trying to communicate with a medical professional, home technician, attorney, or a vehicle graphic applicator we’ve all experienced a breakdown in communication due to unfamiliar terminology. With that in mind, here are a few basic vehicle graphic terms.

Vehicle Graphics Terms

Adhesive Vinyl – This is the material on which vehicle graphics are printed. There are hundreds of variations and levels of quality of adhesive vinyl. Therefore, it’s important to know that not all adhesive vinyl is the same. Because choosing the wrong adhesive vinyl for the application can lead to problems.

Over lamination – This protects the adhesive vinyl graphic from ultraviolet rays, acid dew, and also some road debris. According to 3M in this Graphics solutions post, “It also provides excellent gloss and clarity of reflection, giving a “wet paint” look. And it is warranted by 3M when used with recommended 3M graphic films, printers and inks – including its performance on horizontal surfaces, offering your customers peace of mind.”

Types of Vehicle Graphics

There’s a tendency today to call every kind of vehicle graphic a wrap. This often leads to confusion.

  • Full wrap – Wrapping the entire vehicle excluding windows, and inside surfaces such as under the hood and door jambs.
  • Partial wrap – Graphics covering up to 3/4 of the surface.
  • Plotter cut decal – Adhesive vinyl decals cut on a computer controlled machine.
  • Window Film – Adhesive vinyl designed for driver visibility.
  • Basic application tools – These include heat guns, air release tools, X-acto and other knives, as well as squeegees.
  • File Type – There are several types of files used to transfer design. If you’re not sure which is which, read this. FAQ: Will this Artwork…Work?
  • Color Matching – TKO Graphix uses several color matching tools including the Pantone Color Matching System. “Pantone is a standardized color matching system, utilizing the Pantone numbering system for identifying colors. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all reference a Pantone numbered color, making sure colors match without direct contact with one another.” What is Pantone and How does it Work?
  • Seam – The line formed when joining two pieces of vinyl.

Are We Communicating?

Most professionals use terminology specific to their industry. Sometimes its over-the-top insider jargon primarily used to impress and confuse the uninformed. Other times the terms are the best way to define or describe a task. By understanding a  few basic terms, the experience of working with vehicle graphic professionals, can be enhanced. If you’d like to learn more contact us.

If you’d like to know more about professional vehicle graphics installers, read this– How to find the best vehicle graphics installers.