Car graphics have been a popular way to make a vehicle stand out in a crowd for decades, but when and why did this trend begin?
The history of the popularity of decals in general starts with a hobby craze in the late 1800s when these stickers were applied to glass, pottery, and just about any other surface to which they would adhere. When the automobile first rolled off the assembly line in a choice of colors of black, black or black, graphics being adhered to these miracle machines was unheard of; and it wasn’t until the 1960s that the use of graphics on cars became popular.
Since then, car graphics have changed and evolved in style, detail and sophistication as well as what they are made of and how they are made. The advances our society has made in technology across a number of industries has had a tremendous impact on decals as well. Back in the day, the materials from which graphics were manufactured were not nearly as long-lasting as the materials developed since. The graphics would crack and peel and the weather elements helped to deteriorate them even faster.
Today, a much higher-quality, longer-lasting material is used. Chiefly created out of vinyl, car graphics also have a UV or laminate coating that helps to protect them from fading and peeling. Thanks to the base material and the protective coatings, decals are now known to last up to seven years.
The application method has changed along with the materials from which graphics or decals are manufactured. Today, there are peel-and-stick vinyls as well as water-slide varieties. Peel-and-stick is self explanatory, but the water-slide types require that the decal be dipped into water, in order to loosen the glue that holds the graphics to a paper backing, before the image can be applied to the vehicle.
Finally, the amazing advances in both the design and printing industries have made a huge impact upon the available styles, amount of detail, colors, and the crisp, clear appearance of the final products that enhance so many vehicles on our roads today. It is all of these things combined that make car graphics so appealing and attainable for so many vehicle enthusiasts.