Images for Vehicle Wrap Designs: Size Requirements

Published: July 6, 2015

by Erin Nolan

Have questions about vehicle wraps? See some questions we’ve received below.

vehicle wrap on NIU truck

The Questions

“I have a few questions dealing with images for a 101” x 96” section of a truck wrap. We have an image that is 7”x12” @ 300 dots per inch (dpi).
1. Can that be used for the truck? Some of the other photos have dimensions around 78”x52” @ 72 dpi.
2. Do we need images that are larger than 72 dpi in resolution?

The Answers

It sounds counter intuitive, but the size of your photo will provide excellent quality for large format printing. For vehicle wraps, we use 150 dpi when building the wrap at full size.

Normally, printed materials would need the dots per inch to be at least 300. Printing a brochure or photograph at 72 dpi would make it fuzzy; however, looking at the dimensions of your file, 78” x 52”, it would only be fuzzy if we printed it at the original dimensions or larger.

If we take each of the dimensions and multiply it by 72, that give us the total pixels of the image: (78 x 72 and 52 x 72) = 5616 pixels x 3744 pixels.

With the total pixels, we can divide those numbers by the 150 dpi print quality required for vehicle wraps: (5616 / 150) by (3744 / 150) = 37.44” by 24.96”. This falls a bit short of your 101” x 96” section, but a few of these images in that area may be perfect.

For brand consistency, that 72 dpi image could be printed on paper (300 dpi) as large as 18.72” x 12.48” because we are squeezing all the dots per inch into a smaller space. The dots are getting closer together as we reduce the size. The photos cannot be upsized and be of print quality because the dots would be getting farther apart, causing it to pixelate. And remember, the internet uses 72 dpi.

Here is a link from Layers Magazine that will help explain this further:

Do you have any creative design or video questions? Just ask and we’ll post your question and the answer in an upcoming blog post! You can remain anonymous if you would like.