Bus Fleet

Let’s Talk Shop: Fleet Graphics

Whether you just received a call to wrap a fleet of 50 vans or you have a potential customer interested in lettering a couple vehicles, there are two important points to fleet graphics to consider—budget and design. Coupled with quality materials and workmanship, you’re sure to have a happy customer.


I have yet to meet a customer who hasn’t had some kind of budget in mind when placing an order for vehicle graphics. Since our pricing is based on total square footage, complexity of the installation and the design work involved, we start with some questions.

How much of the vehicle do they want to cover? Would they like their windows covered with perforated window film? How much artwork can they provide digitally and at a high enough resolution? This information, as well as the vehicle obstacles, are taken into consideration as we put together a quote.

The bold logos and artist photos work well to advertise this local country music station.

The who they are, what they do and how to reach them information is easy to grasp on these wraps. Images Courtesy of Weddle Signs.

Sometimes what the customer wants and what they can afford are very different. Building a rapport with the customer is important. We’ll often review their ideas and coverage, take measurements and give them a quote based on what they envision.

Based on their response, a “let’s do it!” means we move forward and hesitation means we start talking budget. I like to work backward from their budget, and keeping the design and installation in mind, we figure out a total square footage amount they can afford.

From there we figure out how to maximize that square footage in the most effective way. When we’re talking about multiple vehicles we also break the budget into the types of vehicles involved, how often each is driven to maximize visibility of the ads, as well as options for going smaller on some vehicles to allow us to go larger on others.

When our county launched a new website, we were contacted to create advertising on all of the county vehicles. There were dozens of small county cars, as well as some larger box trucks and vans. To maximize their budget, the county decided to go with large bumper stickers on all of the small vehicles, which gave them enough funds to create large ads on their bigger box trucks.


When a customer is looking to letter or wrap more than one vehicle, we also take into consideration the total square footage for the whole project to determine the pricing. Something we hear a lot is, “I have four more vehicles to letter so give me a great deal on this one, and then we’ll do more!”

Sounds great, but if I give my “great deal” on this one, with no guarantee on future work, then I just gave the customer a huge discount with no return. Hopefully my great design work and customer service would make the customer return anyway, but it’s always best to give a great deal by securing all of the work.

Bright colors and simple design make these fleet bus graphics effective advertising.

Simple door logos and a reflective stripe make this fleet of security vehicles still stand out, while staying on budget.

We’re happy to give a customer a great price if they place the order for all of the vehicles at one time. To secure the discounted pricing, they have to put down a deposit on the entire project when the order is placed—and they have to agree to complete the job in a reasonable time frame.

We’re able to offer a discount on multiple vehicles because we can order all of the material at one time, often at a quantity discount from our suppliers. We can also produce the graphics at one time, which cuts down on setup and machine time as well as labor.

Our largest fleet client is an advertising agency that sells bus advertising in our area. We are contracted with them to print and install bus graphics for our city and a neighboring city.

Because we do such a large volume of graphics for the company, we have created a pricing structure just for them. We’re able to offer the discount, while still making a profit, because we have streamlined the printing process, determined cost-effective and durable materials and through experience have become efficient with our installations and removals.


You can stay on budget during the design process as well by creating consistent artwork. One way we can discount our fleet graphics is by charging a design setup that can be used on all of the vehicles. For a fleet of wraps on different types of vehicles you should still charge to fit the artwork to that vehicle, but typically at a discounted rate.

Consistent design also makes for a more effective advertising campaign. While the customer may change out the background color, a photo or some other element, a steady design will create continuity to the overall campaign.

The customer’s logo or business name, what they do and how to reach them is the most important information to include. A large photo or icon that clearly explains or supports this information can be helpful, too.

Whether on a van, trailer or truck, a simplified color scheme, bold lettering and an eye-catching image, make these wraps effective. Image courtesy of Weddle Signs.

The bold red and simple design of this ad is eye-catching and effective and will translate well to their other vehicles.

Anything beyond this like bullet points, an extra phone number or any other photos or graphics should either be eliminated, designed clearly and smaller or moved to the back of the vehicle.

Since vehicles are moving quickly, there is not a lot of time to grasp the message. Extra information can be included on the back of the vehicle, if designed effectively, since consumers have more time to read information as they follow a vehicle.

Choose bold colors, a simplified layout and fonts that are easy to read. And choose one large element over many smaller ones, including photos, when possible.

Keep in mind the types of vehicles that will need to be lettered and plan the design to easily translate to each type. For a local mobile oil change company, we recently did a ¾ wrap on their Sprinter and will be starting on a full-size cargo van.

The bold red color and simplified text is cleanly grouped within a half circle on the sides. Extra information was simply lettered in black on the door and the checkerboard pattern along the bottom helped balance the front door lettering. It also included an element they requested without taking away from the important information.

On the back of the vehicle, we used the natural inset area on Sprinters for the red color. The bullets and extra information the company wanted to include was listed neatly and cut in black vinyl. The checkerboard pattern along the bottom helps to tie the sides and back graphics together.

The red half circle and checkerboard pattern will smoothly transition from the Sprinter to a regular van. A little resizing and moving around of the smaller, extra information and we’ll be ready to wrap that van as well.

We also recently wrapped a full-size van for a local radio station. There is at least one more van and one more trailer to do in this fleet of graphics. Their design choices will help make this fleet look professional and consistent.

They created the artwork in-house and submitted it to us. They chose a bright yellow background, a bold “crowd at a concert” design and simplified text.

Their black logo pops off the yellow effectively and the high resolution, full color photos of famous country music stars, work nicely on this wrap. The customer plans to only change out the artist images on each vehicle while maintaining the clean consistent background and information.

Our bus advertising account is another example of good design. Most of the designs are submitted to us by the advertising agency, who designs billboards, buses and shelter ads.

While their accounts are both national and local, they are consistent with the design rule of keeping it simple. Bus ads are designed to be eye-catching and readable while on the move.

The three basics—company name, what they do and how to reach them —are clearly displayed in the artwork. Bold colors, graphics and dimensional elements make their ads effective.

Whether the job entails cut vinyl lettering, spot graphics or a wrap, clean design will lead to an effective ad. A customer that sees results may purchase more vehicles turning one vehicle job into a fleet account.