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How today’s digital printers, inks, and software are supporting a thriving vehicle graphics market.




DO YOU FEEL LIKE you’re seeing more and more wrapped trucks, cars, and vans as you drive around town? That’s no illusion. Vehicle graphics continue to increase in popularity as people seek ways to customize their vehicles and promote their businesses while out on the road.

Having equipment that consistently prints vibrant color with a wide color gamut allows PSPs to stay a notch above the competition. Says PSP Matt Richart: “Your printer is just like your best team member: You depend on them heavily every day.” PHOTO: DIGITAL EFX WRAPS, LOUISVILLE, KY

In fact, according to Grand View Research, the global automotive wrap films market was estimated at $7.11 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.1% from 2024 to 2030.

To find out more about this powerful and enduring graphics trend and how it’s being supported by printer manufacturers, here’s some innovations I’m seeing in the latest wide-format production equipment, software, inks, and media.

Why do vehicle graphics remain so popular as a key driver to investing in a wide-format printer? Vehicle graphics’ enduring popularity in the marketplace certainly is among the top reasons that people visit their dealers looking for a wide-format printer. The versatility of today’s printing devices means that along with vehicle graphics production, these users can count on high-quality prints for a wide range of other applications as well. After all, a vehicle graphic essentially is the same as a wall wrap or a floor graphic, though the media and installation obviously vary from application to application.

In addition to new clients, replacing or updating existing fleet graphics is another reason for vehicle graphics’ ongoing appeal for PSPs. Since the end of the pandemic, there has been a resurgence in marketing efforts, and many businesses are seeing a need to refresh their branding. After being quiet for several years, shop owners tell us that fleet graphics installation requests are flooding back as business owners update their graphics.


Manufacturers are paying attention to the need for vibrant color across a variety of printing platforms. Here are some of the most popular print types and some of the changes we’ve seen:

  • Latex/resin inks: The ink gamut for latex printers recently has widened and, along with it, the richness of the resulting prints has improved over previous generations. Many people appreciate that with prints that dry instantly, latex printer users can laminate prints immediately, saving valuable time. The recent overall improvement in image quality means that latex printer owners no longer are sacrificing color for production speed.
  • UV inks: UV inks have undergone a similar evolution to latex inks. They used to be more matte and muted than other ink types. The depth of color available on today’s UV printers rivals the output on eco-solvent devices. UV ink prints are excellent for wrapping flat panels and for products like vehicle magnets. In looking at the vehicle graphics market, it’s important to remember that these products aren’t just for Lambos and Bugattis. A large portion of the industry is devoted to smaller service-based companies who are looking for vehicle branding but may not be able to afford a full wrap.
  • Eco-solvent ink: Eco-solvent ink has undergone a gamut expansion also. In addition, the inks have an expanded range of available spot colors. Eco-solvent inks also are becoming more flexible and can be stretched around even complex curves, without losing image quality and durability. Traditionally the leading vehicle wrap ink, the eco-solvent ink market continues to grow but at a slower speed as users discover the newest latex and UV inks, which are well suited for vehicle graphics applications.

Since the end of the pandemic, there has been a resurgence in companies’ marketing efforts, and many businesses are seeing a need to refresh their branding. Innovations in vehicle graphics is a great way to do that, putting PSPs in greater demand.


We are seeing growth in the vehicle graphics media market also. For example, manufacturers are developing materials specially designed for use with eco-solvent inks or latex/resin inks. They also are specializing by vehicle type, such as producing materials specifically designed for wrapping a Tesla vehicle.

How has software changed to help PSPs with their vehicle graphics production needs? The latest RIP software products are incorporating features to make the printing process faster and easier. Many are offering improved sets of color profiles that can be downloaded to simplify processing.

Also, I think we’ll see continuing innovation in inks. Manufacturers are expanding the gamut with additional ink colors that will lead to better, richer output. I also anticipate newer formulations to expand the stretchability and conformity of inks.

We also are starting to enjoy innovations in the overlaminate market. Manufacturers are addressing the demand for newer finishes including luster and pearlescent films.

As the vehicle graphics market matures, competition has increased, and today’s customer has become more sophisticated about vehicle graphics purchases.


As the vehicle graphics market matures, competition has increased, and today’s customer has become more sophisticated about vehicle graphics purchases. To enter this market or to remain successful, vehicle graphics providers need to consider using up-to-date production equipment, inksets, media, and installation techniques.

Manufacturers are offering more and better online support as well. Roland DGA offers Roland TV and Roland Academy, which offer informative videos, webinars, and tutorials on topics relevant to vehicle graphics producers. Other manufacturers have their own educational outlets to inform customers about the latest innovations and how to produce attention-grabbing graphics.


ASK AN EXPERT: Measuring Your Margin$ for Vehicle Wraps Success

Running a successful wraps business involves more than just eye-catching graphics design, efficient production, and precise installation. I talked with Matt Richart, co-owner of Digital EFX Wraps in Louisville, KY, and Inside the Wrap Shop instructor, about what other aspects of owning a business that vehicle wraps shop owners should keep top-of-mind.
Daniel Valade: What is one aspect of running a wraps shop that most people don’t consider when they start out?

Matt Richart: “Make sure your pricing is in line with your competition and that it reflects your quality and attention to detail on every project. It’s also crucial that your pricing contains sufficient margin to allow you to not only stay in business but ensure you’re able to grow your business. Without fuel for your rocket, it will be more difficult to lift off.

I also recommend finding out what your local competition is charging to be sure you fall in line with what is available in your market. That said, don’t simply base your pricing on what other companies are doing. Your pricing should reflect your company’s level of quality in production and installation, your responsiveness and communication with your customer, and the start-to-finish experience that clients can expect to have when doing business with your company.”

DV: Why are margins so critical when considering your company’s future?

MR: “Margins are the fuel that makes your company run. In the wraps business it is possible to wrap smaller ticket items that offer larger margins than a larger wrap project would. Calculating those margins before you accept a job can be the difference between having enough revenue for your company to grow, and just scraping by.

I highly recommend reverse-engineering your jobs to make sure your pricing includes the necessary time for administrative tasks, design, production, vehicle prep, installation, and quality control. This will help ensure that your margins are correct and you are accounting for every minute involved in your wrap project. You can be a $3 million-per-year wrap shop, but if your margins are not correct, the total sales numbers will be meaningless and your shop may still struggle to get ahead.”

DV: What role does print production equipment play in your business’s strategy?

MR: “Print production equipment plays a huge role in our business strategy. Having the right equipment allows us to produce vibrant prints with the speed we need to meet our clients’ deadlines while keeping our output quality at the highest level.

Having equipment that consistently prints vibrant color with a wide color gamut allows us to stay a notch above your competition. Your printer is just like your best team member: You depend on them heavily every day.”

DV: What other types of investments are critical to your business’ ongoing success?

MR: “I believe that investing in your team ultimately is what will allow your company to have ongoing success. I used to think we should invest in marketing and in other ways to bring in more business — and you definitely should do those things, especially as you’re starting out. But I’ve learned over the years that investing in your team members even is more important.

For instance, we invested in our design team, encouraging them to learn more about AI, and it has allowed our design department to grow creatively. When we invest time in coaching our team members on how to develop our culture, vision, mission, and how to re-align our company, it makes us a better company. Making these types of investments in the growth of our employees has been a major factor in our overall success.

We are also creating our own educational system at Digital EFX Wraps to educate our team on a range of skills for running a wraps business: how to communicate, how to lead, how to manage, and how to install graphics. It’s all in the service of teaching our team members ways they can participate in continuing to build a company that we can all be proud of.”




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