Vehicle Graphics Printer and Installer Certifications

You invest your marketing and advertising dollars in a sign company to produce the very best graphics and large format print vinyl. When talking about high performance print vinyl used in products like vehicle graphics, vehicle wraps, and textured wall graphics, certifications are a factor for consideration when choosing a sign company for printing and/or installation of the graphics. Sign companies that invest in proper training of their employees by obtaining a preferred status show they are serious about providing the very best quality solutions to their customers.

Be sure to find local shops with accredited installers for making educated choices in trusting your vehicle graphics to. The following are two of the main certifications available in the vehicle wrap industry and vinyl graphics applications in general:

3M Commercial Graphics

3M, in conjunction with other providers, offers professional graphics training to improve the skills and prepare for testing for Certified, Preferred or Endorsed installation training. Typical training consists of a rigorous three day program taught by 3M Preferred Graphics installers. The training contents covers hands on training in vehicle wraps, discussions and demonstrations for fleet graphics, boat wraps and wall graphics as well as floor graphics and other printed vinyl applications. Upon completion of the training or based on the applicant’s previous experience in the industry, the participant can then enroll in a two day testing program during which they can achieve the status of 3M Preferred Graphics Installer. Find 3M Preferred Installers in your area.

Lowen Certified Installer

Lowen Certified is a graphic installer testing and certification program designed by Lowen Corporation and 3M to give individual graphic installers a portable, industry recognized certification that proves they have taken and passed the industry’s most demanding graphic installation testing. This program consists of training and testing on vehicle graphics, fleet graphics, rough wall graphics, window graphics, and floor graphics. Becoming Lowen Certified allows the installer to have access to some of the biggest brands in the country with their fleet graphics.

Fleet Vehicle Graphics for The Feet, Inc.

The Feet, Inc. provides courier and logistics services for a large area from Casper, WY to Castle Rock, CO. They continue to expand with new routes being established regularly due to customer demand.  Due to great customer service and attention to their needs, they have an impressive growing list of customers – many of which have outsourced their fleets to The Feet.

Connecting Signs has been partnering with The Feet in providing their fleet graphics and vehicle decals since early 2012. The Feet recognizes the effectiveness of using premium 3M vinyl on vehicle graphics. Study after study shows that having clear, easy to read truck lettering and van lettering leads to potential customers seeing their brand and eventually contacting them for their services.

One testament to The Feet’s understanding of the effectiveness of fleet graphics branding is that we get contacted before they even take delivery of a new vehicle. They don’t want any of their fleet vehicles driving on the roads in Fort Collins, Cheyenne, or Denver without “The Feet” branding proudly displayed!

We’ve created and installed fleet graphics for a number of different types of vehicles for The Feet, including cars, pickups, sprinter vans, and full size vans. If you’re on the roads around Colorado and Wyoming’s front range you no doubt have seen them out on the job.

We look forward to continue partnering with them to help grow brand awareness through fleet graphics!

fleet vehicle graphics - Signage Company - Connecting Signs

Vehicle Wraps and Graphics Terminology

Vehicle Wrapping Terminology

Here at Connecting Signs we really love doing vehicle wraps – in fact we’re now northern Colorado’s only 3M Preferred and Lowen Certified expert installers! We can’t emphasize enough the importance of vehicle graphics for your business.  The latest trend in mobile advertising usually relates to handheld devices, however, creating a moving billboard with a custom vehicle wrap can actually be more effective for locally based businesses. Vehicle wrapped cars, trucks and vans are estimated to receive 30,000 to 70,000 views a day and for a business that depends on local customers; vehicle wraps can provide the longest lasting, most affordable advertising solution.  Car wraps boast the lowest cost-per-impression rate compared to any other form of advertising media and are not only affordable for large brands that elect to use vehicle wraps as a core advertising strategy, but also for small and medium-sized businesses. You can’t shut off the message on a vehicle, like you can on a TV, it is displaying your message and providing valuable advertising 24/7.
It’s not hard to understand the benefits, although; we understand there are still questions and concerns about vehicle wrapping that you might have.  So maybe some definitions of commonly used wrapping terminology that you will hear would help.

A vehicle wrap (full or partial) consists of a design developed by the customer or a graphic designer.  If the customer provides us with the design, the graphic designer ensures that the file is the correct format so that the design produced is exactly what the customer is expecting; especially fonts, spelling, and correct colors.  After the customer approves the design, it is printed on special vinyl and laminated, and finally installed or “wrapped” on a vehicle. The wrap is applied directly to the vehicle using special tools.  The installer may work just as close with the customer as the graphic designer making sure placement looks correct, seams in the vinyl are pointed out and, care of the wrap are talked about.  The application is so precise it is often mistaken for a custom paint job.  Wrapping can be applied to everything from a car, van, truck, fleet vehicles and much more. 

  • Vinyl – Design is printed on this.  Most popular is called cast vinyl because it does not shrink or stretch or change its shape once installed.  Popular brands are 3M, Avery and Oracal.
  • Laminated – A special transparent film applied to the vinyl for protection from the elements.
  • Printing – Our Latex printer is fast turnaround, versatile, and environmentally friendly.
  • Full Wrap  –
  • Partial Wrap –
  • Fleet Wraps – Vehicles owned by a company and used for business purposes.
  • Tools – Heat gun, vinyl cutter, magnets, gloves, scrapers, molding removers and squeegees.
  • Graphic Design – The art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines or books.   Graphic designers create visual concepts, by hand or using computer software, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform or captivate consumers.
  • File Type – If you provide your own artwork, EPS is the most common file type that vector files are saved as in order for graphic designers to create the design.
  • Color Matching – We use the Pantone Color Matching System which is largely a standardized color reproduction system. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match without direct contact with one another.
  • Seam – A line formed by the joining together of two separate pieces of vinyl.

Let Connecting Signs know how you’re going to be using the vehicle as well as how long you plan on keeping the wrap. Weigh the cost against the quality and long term durability before making your decision.  Trying to save by using inferior quality will cost more in the long run but if you are on a tight budget a short term solution may be the only option.  There is a lot involved with vehicle wraps, but we are the experts, just let us do the wrapping and you do the reaping—benefits that is!!

What is Good Vehicle Graphics Branding?

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.

Branding your business should be in many places – your website, business card, brochures, indoor signs, outdoor signs, etc.  Don’t forget the very best place for branding is on your vehicle!
Sadly we all aren’t Red Bull or any of these common brands where you know exactly who they are, what they provide and what they promise as soon as you see them.  Color is very important in branding.  The color used by these well know businesses is awesome!  They convey their message without many words.

People see color before they absorb anything else.

  • Red is a good color that communicates power.
  • Brown symbolizes dependability and solidity.
  • Orange is a color of adventure which inspires and creates enthusiasm. It is optimistic and sociable and suggests affordability.
  • Yellow is an illuminating and uplifting color which stimulates our analytical processes and assists with mental clarity.
  • Green is associated with nature, health and healing. It balances the emotions and inspires compassion.
  • Blue is the safest color to use in most applications, implying honesty, trust and dependability and it is the most commonly used color in corporate identity.

This figure really helps to understand the concepts of a good brand.

  • Identify – Become memorable.  Come up with a creative slogan and logo
  • Attributes – Easy to pronounce, short and easy to remember, description of your product, consistent with the image of your product
  • Vision – Clarity, consistency and constancy.  Communicate naturally and understandable to others and do it all the time.  Be authentic and straightforward – BE YOURSELF
  • Value – How can you continually add value to other people’s lives?  Your brand is only as valued as you are appreciated by your customers
  • Trust – Responsibility for taking good care of your customers

Nearly every business uses their vehicle for business purposes.  Some more than others like trash pick-up, deliveries, cleaning services, etc. These types of businesses must have good vehicle branding.  For all the reasons just mentioned and just for sake of identifying yourself in a neighborhood where someone might wonder who you are.

Vehicle graphics includes your message of what you do and who you are and goes with you everywhere.  Getting all the concepts of branding on your vehicle is not an easy task.  Connecting Signs can help because we are thinking about it all the time – right placement, color, size, too much info, not enough info and much more.


Bus Wrap - Signage Company - Connecting Signs

Fleet Vehicle Graphics for NOCO Party Bus

We’re always thrilled to do the more unique vehicle graphics and vehicle wrap projects, and no doubt one of those times was when Shane, the owner of NOCO Party Bus in Fort Collins approached us recently to create some eye-catching graphics for one of the buses in his fleet!

NOCO Party Bus is Northern Colorado’s premier party bus company for all your event needs! They specialize in concerts, weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, sporting events, girls and guys night out, birthdays, corporate, airport transfers, private event transfers, brewery tours, golf outings and day and night trips.

NOCO Party Bus currently serves all major cities in Northern Colorado including: Fort Collins, Windsor, Loveland, and Greeley. They’ll also make trips to Denver and Red Rocks for concerts or sporting events. They basically go wherever your party needs to go!

Shane understands the importance of effective fleet vehicle graphics. His newly wrapped bus with flashy graphics, not only provides the lucky party-goers with loads of fun while they safely enjoy their special event, but the bus is also attracting the attention of future customers that will remember to call them for their next event. Bottom line is that fleet vehicle graphics get noticed, and drive brand awareness more effectively than all other types of advertising!

For the NOCO Party Bus, we chose a premium metallic black vinyl for the base layer, and applied a custom-designed graphic over it. Shane was able to stay engaged with our designer as the design took shape, and we always feel great when the customer sees their own touch in the final product. Here’s what Shane had to say on some Facebook pictures we posted soon after it was done:

“Wow is all I can say!! Bruce, Steve and Lindsay did an awesome job on my wrap!! Project design to timely completion they did great!! Thank you so much for our new head turning wrap we are so excited! Will recommend to everyone I know!”

Thanks Shane and NOCO Party Bus! We look forward in helping you out with your entire fleet of buses!

Let the team here at Connecting Signs help transform your company’s fleet of trucks and vans into “rolling billboards”! Fleet graphics in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado are here to stay, and there’s no better way to get noticed than with effective fleet vehicle graphics!

HOLD ON and watch your brand get noticed!!!

Is a vehicle graphics wrap a DIY project?

Seems like you can do just about anything yourself now days, watch a few online videos and you’re off and running… I was just looking at some videos on vehicle wraps, car wraps, and truck wraps, and some brave souls attempting to do it all by themselves. I’ve got to admit that it’s tempting to tackle big jobs yourself and being able tell your friends of your accomplishment. On the other hand, unless you have a lot of time and patience on your hands, some extra cash to buy the proper tools, and a friend or two to help you out during the process, you might want to find something other than a vehicle wrap as a DIY project.

Installation of wrap vinyl can prove to be a difficult and frustrating task. If not done correctly a vehicle wrap will look extremely amateur and unprofessional. It’s very easy to mess up when cutting around the cracks, body panels, wheel wells, fuel doors, and crevasses of the car. Other DIY struggles with a vehicle wrap include removal of all air bubbles, and stretching the wrap vinyl to the point of discoloration of the print. The ability to conform vehicle wrap vinyl into contours and concave areas of the vehicle’s body panels is a skill that comes from specialized training and years of experience.

A clean, climate-controlled facility is also a key element to a successful vehicle graphic wrap install – too warm, and the vinyl will be too soft. Too cold, and you’ll likely have issues with the vinyl becoming brittle and even cracking, rather than stretching. Of course, having a clean indoor facility makes sense – ever dropped an adhesive-backed decal or bumper sticker on bare ground and try to clean off the dirt? …you get the idea!

Let the team here at Connecting Signs in Fort Collins help you out with your vehicle graphics wrap project. It’s true you can’t say you did it yourself, but we’ll keep you involved every step of the way. From working your personal touch and ideas in with the design, to professional advice in the type of vinyl and laminates that will work best. You will end up with a professional vehicle wrap that you can be proud of!

loveland co truck wraps - Signage Company - Connecting Signs

Partial Vehicle Wraps and Graphics can work!

For the money a full vehicle wrap in Northern Colorado is simply the best marketing money you can spend! That said, a great designed partial wrap can get close to the same impact at a lower cost. Studies show that vehicle graphics need to be a part of your marketing campaign and with today’s premium vinyl wrapping vinyl and large format printing, it’s so very easy to do!

So, back to partial wraps!…. Our design team will be able to blend in a wrap design with your vehicle’s original paint. A typical option is to wrap the back half of the vehicle while leaving the original paint in the front – the transition from paint to wrap is key in the design. An effective partial wrap can have the appearance of a full wrap, especially if your vehicle’s paint matches one of your corporate’s colors. Keep that in mind whenever you‘re buying company vehicles – A neutral color such as white or black will leave many options for doing a partial wrap, but it might ultimately end up being a little boring. If you have a more exciting color such as blue in your corporate identity, consider getting a vehicle with that color. It will lead to a partial wrap design that makes a larger impact.Another cost-effective method is for our design team to design custom printed and cut graphics all over the vehicle to give that full-wrapped look.  This method is particularly useful in fleet graphics, where the cost needs to be spread over a larger quantity of vehicles.

One downside to a partial wrap has to do with resale of the vehicle and the UV rays hitting the bare paint vs the covered areas of the partial wrap.  Most times this is not a concern, but something to think about nonetheless.

As in a full vehicle wrap, a partial vehicle wrap from Connecting Signs is completely able to be customized and printed on an adhesive-backed vinyl that’s sealed and protected with an UV laminate film for long wear and bright colors.

Ready to take the next step in getting your brand effectively noticed?  Schedule a consultation with Connecting Signs right now by calling 970-493-0133!

Vehicle Wraps instead of Painting?

Ever since 3M, Avery, and other leading manufacturers of premium vehicle wrap vinyl started offering many stunning varieties of color-change, and specialty wrap vinyl, inquiring consumers want to know if they should wrap their car vs. painting it.

I’m definitely no expert when it comes to vehicle painting, and I’d say if you have a classic car that you’re restoring or maybe have your eye on a one-of-a-kind custom color for your pride and joy, you would probably are best served by going to a reputable vehicle paint shop to get it professionally done.

However, with the introduction of the newest-technology in vehicle wrap vinyl, there is a great alternative to painting in many cases. Here are 5 reasons why you might wrap your car vs. painting it:

  • Cost and Resale Value – A good quality paint job on an entire car can range from $2,000-$10,000+, while a good quality color-change vinyl wrap can range from $2,000-$3,000+. And unless a potential buyer of your car has the same taste in color as you, being able to easily return to the factory paint color give a “resale” advantage to wrapping vs. paining.
  • Protection – Premium vehicle wraps protect your paint by taking the UV light hit. The vinyl film provides a barrier to your vehicle’s paint underneath. Things like sand, insects, and dust have to first go through the vinyl before it hits your paint. Understand that thin layer of vinyl won’t protect against rocks, deep scratches (like “keying”), and vandalism. Anything that dents or scratches vehicle paint will do the same to vinyl wrap. However, you could always re-wrap the damaged area of the vehicle in the same way you can “spot repair” a paint job
  • Time to Install – When you choose to paint your vehicle you are probably going to be without it for a couple weeks. When it comes to vehicle wraps you’ll be waiting only 2-4 days before you have it back.
  • Maintenance – If you want your paint job to last, you might want to keep it waxed. Not an easy job by any stretch… Vehicle graphics on the other hand are very easy to maintain. The most important thing with a wrap (same with paint), is to keep it clean. Hand washing with a mild dish soap or baby shampoo is a great way to keep it clean. Another effective form of caring for your wrap is to use a microfiber rag and diluted isopropyl alcohol to wash away fuel spills, dirt or smudges.
  • Safe Removal – Premium wrap vinyl that is taken care of will last many years. The vinyl’s life will be dependent on whether it’s maintained well, garaged, etc. Make sure the vehicle wrap you use is made with removable (not permanent) adhesive. This allows the vinyl to be safely removed between the 5-10 year period without affecting the existing paint underneath.

Stop by, call, email, or fill out our Vehicle Wrap Quote Request and let CS Wraps / Connecting Signs advise you on your vehicle wraps decision.

commercial van graphics fort collins - Signage Company - Connecting Signs

CS Wraps partners with Silvertip Services for Vehicle Graphics

Silvertip Services is a newly-opened for business cleaning service, and even though they are just starting up their new company – they GET IT! Chris, the owner of Silvertip Services approached Connecting Signs (CS Wraps) with his recently purchased GMC Savanna van, and wanted to turn it into a rolling billboard has he starts up his cleaning services company that specializes in getting your carpet, tile, hardwood, and stone looking great!

Give them a call today at 970.775.4580 and let Chris and his team, along with brand new, latest –technology cleaning equipment get working on the dirt.

Here at CS Wraps / Connecting Signs, we love it when the door to our store opens with a customer (like Chris) that already knows the importance and true value of vehicle graphics, fleet graphics and vehicle wrap advertising. Lindsay, one of our graphic designers, worked closely with Chris to understand his companies brand, logo, and message that he wanted to incorporate in to his moving billboard. The process was simple, easy, and the end-result was great looking van graphics, featuring two layers of complimentary colors in premium 3M cut vinyl.

Silvertip Services van and it’s fresh look is out on the road right now. The good looking vinyl lettering design is working 24/7 and showing potential customers that Chris is serious about his business.

What about your vehicle graphics – are they outdated and tired looking? Using a couple of small door magnets?  Maybe you spent your marketing budget on a radio ad – ever realize that there’s an entire generation of potential customers that don’t even listen to radio? Or maybe you listened to the countless Yellow Pages salespeople, and now you have your ad printed in thousands of big thick books sitting in the bottom of a recycling bin.

Have no fear, CS Wraps is here!… You can call us today or simply fill out an on-line vehicle graphics quote request. Either way, we’re here to help get your company fleet looking great and working 24/7!

CS wraps vehicle graphics - Signage Company - Connecting Signs

Vehicle Graphics – CS Wraps IS Connecting Signs Wraps

Throughout Northern Colorado including Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland, Windsor, Denver, Longmont, and Boulder, CS Wraps was created specifically for creating leading edge vehicle graphics and vehicle wraps. We partner with each customer and take a highly consultative approach to fleet vehicle branding and car advertising in Northern Colorado, and will take the time to fully understand your needs, your brand, and your vision.

Whether you are a franchise business or a local contractor in Fort Collins, CS Wraps vehicle graphics and vehicle wraps take your brand our where it will be seen big-time! Everyone’s always on the go. Shouldn’t your brand be, as well? Give the professionals at CS Wraps a call today, they will make your companies fleet stand out and look professional.

We recently had a bad hail storm at our house in Northern Colorado. As the roofing contractors rolled up and down the streets soliciting for business, some of the pickup trucks had their companies proudly displayed with truck graphics while some contractors rolled in with door magnets… Which contractor would you guess was taken seriously?

According to the American Trucking Association – Even a single intra-city truck with graphics can generate up to 16 million visual impressions in a year. CS Wraps in Fort Collins will give you the power to impress!