Vehicle Templates: the Ultimate Guide to Car Wrap, Vehicle Graphics and Vinyl Graphics

Wrap advertising isn’t a new idea, and it’s pretty much as popular today as it was when it first came along. A car has a lot of advertising space and once it’s rolling down the streets it gets all the visibility you can get. This makes car wraps a very effective marketing tool, especially for small businesses using their own vehicles as moving ads: they only have to pay for the ad once, and there’s no further costs.

*Fun Fact – Pepsi Co was the first company to use vinyl wrapping as a form of advertising, using the side of a bus to introduce Pepsi Crystal to the market way back in 1993!

However designing a great vehicle wrap ad requires a certain level of expertise in many different areas, from graphic design to print to installation. Not every average Joe’s skillset. Hence why there’s a prolific pool of signmakers, designers and printers offering car wrap services… And thanks to the awesome aid of vehicle templates, you can be one of them too!

Vehicle templates are the ultimate tool to have in your set if you’re diving into car wrapping services. This guide will help you understand what they are and how they work, plus where to buy the best vehicle templates in the market. Read on!

Knowing Vehicle Wrap Templates Basics

Let’s say you’re going to start taking in vehicle wrap orders in your signmaking business, or you want to design some of these awesome vehicle wrap graphics for yourself. Well, designing them can be quite tricky, and it’s not hard to see why:

Cars aren’t flat – A car wrap is nothing like a poster or a website homepage. Vehicles are tridimensional and their surface has curves, angles, volume. All those dimensions have to be carefully taken into account into your design, or the final wrap will look funny at worst, and not very eye-catchy at best.

Not all vehicles are the same – There’s currently 237 car models for sale in the U.S only (and that’s without counting variations and utility vehicles). Each of them has its unique measurements and dimensions. A first-class car wrap will be precisely designed according to the proportions of the car it will be wrapped on.

If you’re going to venture into vehicle graphics, this means you’re going to be spending a lot of time around cars with a measuring tape taking lots of notes before you even get to the designing stage (unless you’re crazy enough to ask your potential customers to do it for you). This kind of time consumption would make it hard to make a car wrap business profitable too. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an alternative to this dark scenario?

Well, lucky for you, there is! You guessed: it’s vehicle templates

Vehicle Templates: From Design to Your Car in No Time

What are vehicle templates? It’s really quite simple: vehicle templates are pre-made graphic diagrams outlining precise dimensions, on scale, for different types and models of vehicles. They come in two variants:

2D Templates

The 2D vehicle templates are normally outline views of the front, back and sides of the chosen vehicle, which can be downloaded in common formats such as CDR, AI, DXF and EPS which you can then open in most popular image and vector manipulating tools such as the ever popular Adobe Illustrator or one of its fine competitors.

3D Templates

3D models are also growing in popularity, giving you a scale model of your car, van, bus or other vehicles that you can manipulate in digital space while you are building your designs, allowing for much better manipulation and modelling of your graphics, which results in a much better idea of how your vehicle wrap will look once it’s printed off and and put into action in the real world.

Digital vehicle templates like these are easily editable with most of the main image, vector and 3D modelling editing softwares available, letting you create precise designs and even mockups to show your clients very easily.

Vehicle wrap templates simply cut out the need to manually go out and measure every car you want to wrap, putting you right at the designing stage without wasting a single second, and enabling you to have the final vehicle wrap printed off and put out to pasture in the real world much quicker.

It’s a no brainer these are super valuable resources for wrap advertising and signmaking!

Finding the Best Vehicle Templates for Signmakers

Not long ago you learned there’s hundreds of different car models out there (and let’s not mention vans, trucks and other utility vehicles). Are there vehicle templates for all of them? Well, if not all, certainly for most.
There are a few companies offering very large and complete online libraries with professional vehicle graphic templates for virtually all types and models of vehicles on the streets. Some of them are excelling at it!

If you want to really tap on the wrap advertising business opportunities, we seriously recommend you to find a vehicle template provider to have at hand length at all times. Here’s a list of the best places to buy professional vehicle templates:

SignSilo: A Complete & Budget-Friendly Service

SignSilo LogoSignSilo has got to be one of our favourite places to go when we need to put together a vehicle wrap in a hurry. Not only do they have a robust catalog full of vehicle templates practically guaranteeing you’ll find the one you’re looking for, but they have a convenient and super affordable buying system, a great template finder tool, and cool extras. Here’s a sum of their service:

  • Over 20,000 vehicle template files – includes cars, trucks, vans and buses models from the last 4 decades!
  • Templates subscription plan with 25 downloads per month for just $39 monthly or $179 annually – That’s just $0,59 per template!
  • All in 1:20 scale
  • 5 sides templates with premium quality and total accuracy
  • Multiple formats: CDR, AI, DXF and EPS
  • Monthly updates with latest cars, vans and trucks
  • Free tester files for proof of quality
  • Millions of extra visual resources: Hi-res photos, vectors, fonts, and pre-designed artwork for wraps – included in full membership for just $39 a month or $395 a year

If you’re intending on taking as many car wrap clients as you can, a SignSilo subscription is a perfect match for you. It gives you access to every possible vehicle template you’ll need at super low rates, with great bonuses and a sleek, user-friendly service.

Check out SignSilo here!

Pro Vehicle Outlines: A Serious & Well Rounded Offer

Pro Vehicle Outlines is, as its name implies, a very professional service in vehicle templates. These guys offer a pretty well rounded experience for all those looking for templates and a little more. Their library is very rich and up to date, plus their site includes tutorials and other helpful content like an FAQ section and a user-friendly search tool to find the template you’re after. Their buying options are fairly convenient too. Check out details of their offer:

  • Over 10,000 vehicle graphic templates – covering models from 1994 to 2018
  • Annual subscription with full online access for $399
  • Pro Version adding flash drive plus 160-page template reference book for $499
  • Templates within ¼ of an inch accuracy at 1:20th scale
  • AI files – standard vector format
  • Regular updates with latest vehicle model templates
  • 24/7 online access and Toll-Free Technical Support
  • Bonus Vector Wrap collection with customisable vector artwork for wraps – at $79,99
  • Free sample gallery of vector art files for proof of quality

Pro Vehicle Outlines set a great standard in the vehicle templates market, and it’s a handy resource for those selling car wraps or designing them. The added value in their tutorials and assistance content, plus perks like technical support and reference content, make them a very good choice for a vehicle templates supplier.

Visit Pro Vehicle Outlines here!

The Bad Wrap: Templates a la Carte & Custom Made

The Bad Wrap is a company offering services based on their patented design software built for vehicle wraps. They have lots of vehicle templates, and the ability to purchase them by single files is one of the main highlights in their offer although they also have subscriptions, all at very reasonable prices. The site adds useful video tutorials, technical support, a cool tool for quick price quotations on panels and wraps based in vehicle dimensions, and even a system to request a custom template. Learn all the details:

  • Estimately above 4000 templates – library size is not advertised
  • Around $30 each – a la carte purchase available
  • Annual subscriptions with access to whole library for $699 a year and $1199 for two years
  • Templates scaled at 720dpi with a scale of 10%
  • All front, sides and back views
  • All high res TIFF files created in Photoshop – compatible with Adobe Photoshop and Flexi 10.5 only, designed for drag and drop functionality
  • Customer support for Photoshop users
  • Constant updates with latest vehicle models
  • Wrapulator: Quick pricing estimates in PDF based in specific vehicle dimensions – at $199, included in 2-year subscription
  • Custom template request – 4-day turnaround
  • Free sample files

This company is the perfect solution if you just want to test waters with car wrap advertising and vehicle templates, as it lets you buy templates by the unit without further commitments. Their affordable rates and interesting bonus services shape up this service as a good option to dive in to the car wrap business.

Discover The Bad Wrap here!

Buy Vehicle Templates to Get your Car Wrap Business Started!

At this point is crystal clear that venturing into car wraps to get more clients to your signmaking or graphic designing business cannot be made without vehicle templates. Investing in a good, reliable provider for vehicle outlines is a must.

Each of the above listed sites has strong points of their own, and we’re sure you’ll find the right match for you!

Designing Car Wraps with Vehicle Templates

Once you have your vehicle templates at the ready, it’s time to design! If you’re a graphic designer (or at least have comparable skills to work with complex, pro image editing software) you will likely handle this stage yourself. As a signmaker you may want to outsource, commission or collaborate with a designer for optimal results in your final product. Either way, here’s the steps to follow for designing car wraps using vehicle graphic templates:

  • Get the exact type and model of car (or van, or truck) the wrap will be applied on – Tip: ask the client if the vehicle’s surface has any irregularities a template might not account for
  • Source the matching vehicle template for the car
  • Collect file specifications from the printing service you (or your client) will use, and design with them in mind
  • Open the template file in your image or vector editor of choice, and unleash your creativity! – Tips: Keep designs simple and make sure brands and logos are distinctive (they’ll be read while going at 65 mph after all). When using photos, go for really high resolution for a neat look
  • Optionally, create a mockup to show your client, to easily make changes if necessary
  • Once approved, deliver the final vehicle wrap design to the printer following their printing specs
    After the design is done, you’re almost ready to see the car wrap you created running down the streets!

Bringing your Car Wrap Design to Life

Now you’ve completed your vehicle wrap graphic design, let’s take it from the computer onto the vehicle. Most likely you will outsource or collaborate with specialized agents for this, but if you want to ensure your car wraps will be the best in town, you should still know the basics of the best materials and installation practices. Let’s see.

Choosing Vinyl: Who to Trust with your Car Wrap Quality

Gotten to this point, great vehicle templates to aid in your awesome car vehicle wrap designs are only going to be worthwhile if the vinyl you’re printing them on is top quality. Getting your vinyl, or any of your arsenal from subpar manufacturers could leave you with badly fitting graphics, unwanted effects and the dreaded vinyl bubbles. Remember: materials is not something to bargain on if you want great results.

There’s lots of supplies of vinyl, but most serious wrap advertising creators go for any of these top three:

All three of them are reputable, first-class companies, but they have a wide range offer a wide range of ready-to-go film vinyl from premium to lower end quality, priced accordingly. Keep it in mind: cheap material from a top supplier, is still cheap material.

Trusting the vinyl your perfected designs are going to be printed on is a must. Getting cheap product will keep your costs lower, but more often than not it’s going to leave you with a cheap looking result and a bitter taste in your mouth after all those hours spent straining your eyes to get those gorgeous graphics ready.

We could not remark it more: going for cheap vinyl is NOT a good idea.

Printing your Vehicle Wrap: Do Not Try This at Home, Kids

It goes without saying: printing a car wrap is not something you can do at home or the office with your regular printer, no matter how high-end it might be. This is a job for a wide format digital printer, and for those who know how to operate them. If you’re one of them or have one of them in-house, awesome. If not, you’ll likely need to use a professional print shop for the task. Some tips for printing your design in a car wrap:

  • It’s highly recommendable to select a print shop before starting the design, so you can ask for file specifications from them – this will ensure the final wrap will look exactly like the design you’ve seen on screen
  • Often times print shops source the printing material themselves, check the quality of the product before ok-go’ing the print
  • Each manufacturer’s vinyl has a specific print profile –which informs the printer of the amount of ink needed for best results–, some shops use a generic profile for all their prints, and this affects the final product – make sure the print shop you work with takes care of print profile

After checking all this and giving thumbs up, it’s only a matter of waiting to see your design in ready to install vinyl!

Installing your Car Wrap – This is Hardest Part!

And we’ve gotten to the final step, at last. Once all is done and ready, there’s nothing left but to apply the beautifully, freshly created car wrap onto the car. As you may have guessed, this is not a job for the inexperienced. It may look like placing a sticker to a car window, but it couldn’t be further from reality! Properly installing a car wrap is an art in itself, so you’re best trusting a professional with it. Here’s some basics of the process:

Preparation: The installer must wipe every inch of the car’s surface (and also under weather trims, fenders and cracks) to ensure it’s all dirt and wax free, as any particle of dust or wax residue would affect the adherence of the vinyl. There’s a final wipe-out with alcohol to remove any cleaners that could have the same unwanted effect- Tip: this is a tedious process, so often overlooked. Make sure your installer is meticulous

Facility: It must be done indoors, in a dust-free environment to avoid anything going between car surface and vinyl. It must also be on a specific environment temperature set by the vinyl manufacturer – Tip: Do not trust an installer that wants to do it on the open: all kind of dust particles will end up under the vinyl, and the final surface will show it

Installation: It’s very, very difficult to flawlessly lay a vinyl wrap on a vehicle. Do check previous works to decide which installer to hire – Tip: Trimming all edges is the most critical part, when well done it’ll look like a paint job rather than a car wrap

Post-installation: Installer must go all over curved areas with a hot gun and a thermometer ensuring the vinyl reaches a temperature set by the manufacturer, to override the vinyl’s PVC memory that would make it go back to its original shape and shrink on the car

So there you have it! That’s how you get a custom made vehicle wrap done!

Use Vehicle Templates and Make Money with Custom Car Wraps!

Our guide ends here, but the road to car wraps has only just started for you! Now you know the great usefulness in vehicle templates, plus all the basic notions in vehicle wrap advertising, you’re set to start offering car wrap designs as part of your signmaking or graphic design business.

Using great value resources like SignSilo’s super affordable vehicle graphic templates, you can easily take on clients for custom made vehicle wraps, and help lots of small business owners promote their brands and services while earning yourself some bucks! Off you go!

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