Examples of what will happen if PRINTED graphics are used that are not TRULY outdoor durable

Long term outdoor durability for printed graphics is only available with certified 3M Scotchprinted graphics, or with graphics done using Thermal printing. 3M Certified Scotchprint with MCS will yield a minimum of 7 years durability against deterioration due to temperature and UV rays. Thermal printing will give you a minimum of 5 years durability. Inexpensively printed graphics using NON 3M INKS with an overlaminate can only last a couple years, for the most part. Below are samples of trucks printed using "other" printing systems. The INKS are the key, and if the INKS are not UV resistant, then the PRINT will not be LONG TERM UV resistant, despite the overlamination. Inexpensive vinyl substrate will also show rapid deterioration when exposed to UV rays.

Unfortunately, whenever I see a prime example of someone who saved some money by using printed graphics that came off a printer that is NOT certified for LONG TERM outdoor durability, I am driving in very heavy traffic, with my camera in the back seat! However, I did spot this unit at a dealership. Obviously, the printing is fading fast...at every seam! And in between. (My guess is that the added heat and rain at the seams caused this strange pattern of fading.)

Below is a sad tale for the owners of these two vans. When they bought the vans 4 years ago, they had a local sign shop wrap these vans with some pretty expensive graphics. Unfortunately, that sign shop was not using outdoor durable vehicle vinyl graphics and the outdoor exposure (even with the UV overlaminate) rapidly destroyed both the color and the vinyl itself. The vinyl began delaminating after a few years mostly because it was poorly installed (any tiny amount of air will result in what you see below), as the images faded, the vinyl started shrinking and peeling away. Now the customer wants to have this mess removed and replaced with good graphics. Their vans are still in very good shape (despite the outward appearance.) But it will cost them as much to have that old vinyl removed, and the damaged paint job redone, as it would cost to buy new (used) vans. (New graphics cannot be applied over this mess). So they are in a conundrum...the value of their vehicles is now zero,


Any printed graphics applied horizontally (rooftop, hood top) will deteriorate at a rate three times faster than vertically applied graphics. Below is a hood graphic on the same vans, notice the difference in fading relative to the sides. UV rays are what destroys vinyl. Scotchprinted or Thermal printed vinyl will last LONGER than the others, but 3M does not warrant the horizonal applications for long term durability.

I actually bid on this job (below) a few years ago, but did not get it because some other sign shop offered them a much better deal. Yeah, great deal.....that old mantra....you get what you pay for! My customers NEVER have this kind of problem with their printed graphics...even after 10 or more years on the road, much less 4 years!!!

See Problems with Cheap Cut Vinyl Graphics