By Cassandra Balentine
In addition to commercial uses, vehicle wraps are now a method for consumers to express themselves. Solid color wraps provide the ability to start fresh, with bold and bright colors not always offered by car manufacturers.
“Vehicle customization is an ever changing and expanding market, and we are witnessing the lines between a restyling business and a graphics company begin to blur and merge, thus increasing the availability of professional providers of solid vehicle wraps,” says Craig Campbell, graphic products marketing manager, ORAFOL Americas.
Amy Swaile, associate marketing manager, MACtac Distributor Products, points out that the vehicle wrap industry has always held the philosophy of standing out in a crowd. “This philosophy is truer today. It’s all about personalization, and the more options to do so, the better. Colored media allows for the simple personalization such as stripes or grand, full-color changeovers that paint can’t achieve.”
To address the demand for personal expression in colors and effects, media manufacturers and distributors offer extensive solid color options within their vehicle wrap portfolios.
Color change films continue to gain popularity within the vehicle space. It’s a way to bring in revenue from non-commercial clients, as well as a tool to protect paint jobs.
Taylor Froelich, business development associate, Arlon Graphics, LLC, believes that the automotive industry is growing, and more color wraps are on the road. “In addition to the automotive aftermarket shift towards restyling wraps, we also see this trend with dealerships implementing wraps for added revenue off the lot. Sign companies continue to migrate towards color change film as they are seeing the market demand increase,” she adds.
Color change and paint wraps are particularly popular with exotic car owners. Beth Zanko, technical solutions leader, Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, points out that this audience tends to have the disposable income to frequently change the color of very high-end cars, while preserving the original OEM paint. “Solid color vehicle wraps can also be useful for fleets, again to create a custom look or commercial wrap, while preserving the original paint on the car,” she continues.
According to Ryan Scislowicz, business development and marketing manager, Kay Premium Marking Films (KPMF) USA, vehicle wraps are no longer defined as commercial advertising products. “As the industry expands and awareness increases, more individuals turn to wrapping to restyle their personal cars.”
Campbell sees adoption as a sea of change as opposed to a trend. “We have experienced phenomenal growth in the segment over the last several years and continue to see forward momentum as the applications beyond vehicles continue to evolve.”
He predicts continued expansion in the segment, especially as the market moves past vehicles and into aeronautical and marine.
Demand is primarily driven by technology awareness. As more people learn that vehicle customization is within their budget, demand for custom color changes will increase, predicts MACtac’s Swaile.
“There will be an eventual peak, however, I believe paint wraps will continue to have a place in the restyling industry for a long time to come,” adds Scislowicz.
Zanko points out that although the solid color wrap market is continuously evolving, and has caught on among high-end car enthusiasts, there is significant room for growth because many consumers still don’t know that wrapping a vehicle is an option.
In addition to vehicle users, solid color films are used for a range of applications.
Campbell notes that so far the company has seen race cars, boats, planes, trains, furniture, and sign cabinets wrapped using its film. “As long as the surface is prepared correctly and the user tests the product to ensure compatibility with their application, then the sky is the limit.”
Interior applications present a big opportunity. “From updating the look of old laminate kitchen cabinets to refreshing a reception desk at an office, these films have many more applications than just vehicles,” says Scislowicz.
Swaile agrees, “colored vinyl is great for vehicles, cars, boats, and motorcycles, but other uses are only limited by the imagination.” For instance, she says MACtac customers use MACmark Tuning Films and other MACmark products to wrap laptops, tablets, tabletops, furniture, retail walls and signage, and corporate rebranding. “Colored vinyl allows for a complete overhaul in the way your environment looks without the permanency of paint.”
In the Details
Both printed wraps and color change wraps have their advantages, but solid car wraps take much of the production and installation time out of the equation.
When looking at printing a solid car color versus applying a solid color wrap film, users not only have to consider the durability of the color, but also the production time, says Campbell. “With printing there is the physical color matching, then actually printing, laminating, and finally trimming the graphic to prepare for application,” he explains. “When using solid color wrapping film, it is ready right out of the box—a graphic provider can install the color as the background then overlay any other full color or cut graphics over the top, this provides longer durability on the solid color and faster production times.”
Scislowicz explains the solid color wraps are manufactured as just that, a solid color. By eliminating the printing process, a step for failure in the durability of the wrap is also taken out of the equation. “This is not to say that solid color wraps are perfect, there will be specific colors depending on the pigments and processes used to manufacture the film that will fade faster than others,” he admits.
In addition to eliminating production and installation steps, color change wraps boast paint protection. Arlon’s Froelich sees this as the most recognized benefit of complete color change wraps. She explains that color change requires complete coverage of the vehicle to act as a paint replacement, where commercial wraps are applied to visible areas only and require less attention to detail.
Color change wraps allow for customization that cannot be reproduced in mass volumes, with the added ability to maintain the OEM warranty, she adds.
Zanko agrees, noting that paint replacement wraps can be used as protection, which is especially useful on leased vehicles because the original paint job is preserved. Also color change car films are available in a wider variety of finishes than printed graphic wraps. “And, the wrap is fairly easy to remove if the owner decides they want to revert back to the original paint color.”
A variety of media providers carry color change films. Here are a few highlights from vendors. Each company offers a wide selection of color options in their product portfolios.
Arlon’s Ultimate PremiumPlus line offers a selection of finishes for all vehicle color change needs, including Ultra Matte, Metallic, Sparkle Effect, Matte Effect, Pearlescent, Carbon Fiber, and Brushed Metal finishes. In addition to standard whites, blacks, and grays, the company offers an extensive array of reds, pinks, purples, browns, blues, oranges, yellows, and greens. Each color is available in many different finishes and with different effects.
The Ultimate PremiumPlus media series launched in Europe four years ago. “As the industry continues to grow, so does our color offering,” says Froelich.
Ultimate PremiumPlus currently offers 71 colors in addition to its PerformancePlus color change film line, which includes an additional 13 colors.
Avery Dennison Supreme Wrapping Film SW900 is available in solid color gloss, matte, and brushed metallic; matte, pearlescent, carbon fiber, conform chrome, and satin finishes. Digitally printable films can be paired with an overlaminate for gloss, matte, and luster finishes.
The Supreme Wrapping Film line includes 92 opaque cast films in gloss, matte, and brushed metallic; matte, pearlescent, carbon fiber, conform chrome, and satin finishes. The company’s newest line of Supreme Wrapping Film colors are limited edition Justin Pate colors. Milky Way, Black Pearl, Meteorite, Red Giant, and Bahama Blue Pearl were added in September 2014. Chrome Red also joined Supreme Wrapping Film at that time.
“Avery Dennison strives to launch new and interesting film finishes and textures several times a year to keep up with the demand and ever-changing tastes of the automotive aftermarket,” says Zanko. “We continue to invest in gathering market insight while delivering samples and collateral to help users feel confident in their choices.”
KPMF offers a variety of matte and gloss colors in addition to several specialized pearlescent, iridescent, starlight colors, and carbon fiber.
Scislowicz says the company first added color in 1993 to transform black taxis in Germany to the required beige color. By the year 2000, KPMF offered over 40 color options.
“We are focused on developing new colors and effects as well as constantly testing our products to ensure they deliver the performance expected of them,” he says.
MACtac features its MACmark Tuning Films line of color change vinyl. These films are available in a variety of trending colors and finishes such as Iridescent Fuschia-Green, Carbon Fiber Gold, Black Leather, and Brushed Metals. The company also offers Velvet options. “These specialty colors and finishes add to the more traditional colors such as yellow, blue, green, red, most with our B-free air egress adhesive,” says Swaile.
The MACmark Tuning Films collection was first introduced in 2011 as a response to the growing demand for color change options. The series includes more than 55 colors and effects.
In addition, the company has enhanced its marine warranty to include MACmark Tuning Films and offers educational pieces and videos to showcase customized products.
ORAFOL offers its ORACAL 970RA Premium Wrapping Cast, which includes 96 colors in gloss, matte, and metallic finishes. The company first introduced solid color wrapping films back in 2006, and continues to enhance its 970RA line and add more colors to the expansive offering.
Ritrama’s RI WRAP 500 Series product line is the company’s featured line of solid color vehicle wraps. Most of the RI WRAP vehicle wraps feature a repositionable gray-pigmented adhesive and Ritrama Logo Air Flow Release Liner for easy application. Colors include Hot Wheels Blue, Burnout Black, Kandy Red, and Countach Green.
Demand to be Different
The desire to stand out from the pack—as an individual or an organization—continues to fuel adoption of colored media wraps. “The demand to be different is what drives the automotive restyling industry. In this day and age, everything around us is personalized to depict what makes us unique,” says Froelich.
A color change wrap is an effective and affordable way to enable consumers to express their personality to the world. For those already offering vehicle wraps, the opportunity to provide color change services may be an ideal revenue stream, as it often requires less of an investment in production and serves an entirely new base of potential clients.
Nov2014, Digital Output