When training to make vehicle wraps, an important ingredient is getting used to using scale dimensions for the work you create. If you come from a sign graphics background this may not be a new skill to master, but if you’re entering the business of vehicle wraps from a designer point of view – using and understanding scale is absolutely necessary to get you wrap prints sized correctly. Working in scale keeps your dots per inch at a reasonable frequency, keeps your overall file size manageable, and of course makes the vehicle wrap print eventually fit the vehicle to be done.
Why does the vehicle wrap business use scale?
Vehicles of all types, whether it is a truck, trailer, car, or van – are simply large. As an example, a small passenger car can easily be 14-15 feet in length. Most professional sign and graphics design software will not allow such prints to be made or in the case they do support such sizes – they present problems when trying to integrate within a work flow with software or staff.
Common Scale Ratios in Vehicle Wraps
For many years vector vehicle outlines were produced in 1/20th scale. Within your vehicle wrap design software you would in this case create all of your graphics at 1/20th scale and at final output increase the overall size by 2000%. In recent years, vehicle wrap designers have adopted a new standard which attempts to simplify the scale concept in vehicle wraps.
The Importance of 1/10th Scale in Vehicle Wraps
In the first example, the designer would increase the overall dimensions by 2000% to reach the actual size and during the design stage, placements of logos and such things are displayed by an arbitrary number. In 1/10th scale these numbers begin to make a world of more sense and easily be communicated while designing the vehicle wrap. The total vehicle graphic would need to be increased in size at output by 1000% as opposed to 2000%.
Using 1/10th scale for your vehicle wrap project would require the designer simple math to view and modify work by moving the decimal point 1 digit to the left. For example, if the customer request their logo on the side of the vehicle to be at least 4 feet in length or 48 inches, the vehicle wrap designer would display 4.8 inches in his or her design software. In another example, if you were supplied with a 16 foot by 8 foot van or 192 inches by 96 inches, your working dimensions would be 19.2 inches by 9.6.
As you can see using 1/10th scale in your vehicle wrap work can be extremely simple and powerful. In the last example, it is far easier to design an image 19.2 by 9.6 inches plus bleeds than dealing with an artboard in the hundreds of inches.