Imagine if you could strap a beautifully designed billboard to a trailer and tow it around town, reaching and gathering views from everyone in your area for mere pennies per thousand impressions. Well, that’s pretty much what a bus wrap is.

Buses spend all day chugging around town, often in busy locations, where pedestrians and other drivers get to see it in all of its glory. If that sounds like prime advertising space to you, you’d be right. Bus wraps are a simple way to get your image out there without the high costs of other advertising mediums. Let’s take a closer look at what bus wraps can do for your business.

Is a Bus Wrap Effective?

Bus wraps are absolutely effective. You can use a bus wrap for many different marketing goals, like boosting brand awareness, capturing leads and promoting a specific service or product. A bus wrap offers several marketing benefits.

Here are some of the numbers to back it up:

  • Out-of-home (OOH) advertising can generate about R35 in product sales for each dollar spent on marketing, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA).
  • The OAAA also found that outdoor advertising can boost the reach of other marketing media. For mobile advertising, it can improve its reach by up to 316%
  • More than two-thirds (70%) of people say that OOH advertising is very or somewhat likely to influence a purchase.
  • Customers spend more than 70% of their time away from the home, but only 4% of media spending goes to OOH advertising.

Branded bus wraps are an excellent — and often underused — way to get your image in front of more people for a relatively low cost.

What Is a Bus Wrap?

A bus wrap is made up of several sections of durable vinyl decals that adhere to the side of the vehicle, covering it either in full or in part. They are fully customizable and offer way more options than a paint job. You simply can’t get the same results of a high-quality printed image in a hand-painted approach. Bus wraps can even cover the windows with perforated decals.


You can find vinyl wraps on all kinds of vehicles, but bus wraps offer the most advertising space due to the size. They turn this large vehicle into your own moving billboard.

Think of all the occasions that people will see a bus wrap. Every time it stops, people walking by can look up at your impressive design, and so can drivers who get stuck behind it in traffic. Everyone eating in the cafes and outdoor seating along the bus route will see it, and even people racing to work won’t be able to miss it.

A bus wrap is much more generalized than many other forms of advertising. When you buy ad space in a magazine, you appeal only to those readers, who might be part of a narrow demographic. With a bus wrap, you reach everyone in sight indiscriminately. Maybe you can reach people you never would have thought to target. Perhaps your product is wide-reaching, and you simply need to get to as many people as possible. Bus wrapping reaches all demographics.

Custom and Partial Bus Wraps

Deciding to use a custom or partial bus wrap depends on your design and your goals. You might choose to wrap only one side of the bus for the cost savings, or you could place a decal on the back if you want to target drivers more than pedestrians.

Full wraps, however, are the best way to make your image stand out. They are full-color, vibrant and cover the bus from bumper-to-bumper — with the exception of the windshield, of course.

In addition to full and partial wraps, you can also use smaller decals, like individual images or lettering. Whether you want to get your logo and phone number out there or conduct a full-scale takeover of the bus, decals and vinyl bus wraps are the way to go.

How Is a Wrap Installed?

Typically, you won’t do the installing. We always recommend professional installation, and the process looks something like this:

  1. The bus gets thoroughly cleaned. Any dirt and gunk must be completely removed, so the decal has a smooth surface to stick to. This cleaning can include a chemical-based rinse to get rid of any waxy, oily or greasy residue. Any of these agents can make it difficult for the vinyl to adhere to the body properly.
  2. An installer applies the panels individually. Panels come clearly marked for each section, and the installer or team of installers place them on. They may use tools like heat guns and squeegees to remove any air bubbles and ensure a tight fit.
  3. The installer conducts a final inspection. This inspection should be thorough, so you know everything is covered and your wrap is up to par before the bus leaves the shop.

Can the Wrap Damage the Bus?

You generally don’t need to worry about the wrap damaging the bus. A wrap may actually help protect the bus! But all of that hinges on professional installation and the vehicle’s condition before installation.

If a bus has any of the following before the wrap gets installed, there may be damage on removal.

  • Scratches and dents: They can cause peeling, and make it difficult for the wrap to adhere.
  • Fresh paint: New paint jobs need some time to settle — a minimum of two to three weeks.

Whether you own the bus or are renting the space, you don’t want to damage it with a wrap. Take care during the installation process to save yourself a real headache down the road.

Designing a Bus Wrap

While we’ve compared a bus wrap to a mobile billboard, designing an ad for a vehicle is very different than for a stationary display. There are new considerations to think about, like the way the wrap looks when the doors are opened and how readable it is at high speeds.


We’ve written a whole blog post about bus wrap design, so be sure to read that if you’re taking this approach. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways:

  • Be bold. Large text, bold design and bright colors can make your wrap stand out, especially when your competition is all those shiny, colorful cars on the road. Don’t be afraid to get creative with bus wraps — those are the ads that get attention.
  • Find exact measurements. Your designer will need to use the exact measurements of the vehicle. Damage and additions can make the actual dimensions of a bus different from its manufacturer specifications. Always use the real, precise numbers so you know what you’re working with.
  • Think about context. A bus is more dynamic than most advertising mediums. It has windows and doors that open and close, components that must legally be left untouched and a background that can change wildly depending on its location. Your design must look good in every situation. Make sure it doesn’t create any unpleasant imagery, such as an exhaust pipe over a spokesperson’s face or an unfortunate swear word that gets created when someone opens a window.

Bringing your creative ideas to life is what we do best

We can advise on every aspect of your business's requirements, from developing a new branding identity or business stationery suite, to developing your next marketing campaign, creating large banners or posters, and designing your annual report

Vinyl Bus Wraps From Express Print

Here at Express Print, large-format graphics are a specialty of ours, and bus wraps are one of the largest. We use high-end materials for impressive durability and vibrant, eye-catching colors. No matter what you’re advertising, a bold bus wrap from Express Print can bring it to life. Local businesses, tour buses and large corporations can all benefit from branded bus wraps. If you’re looking for bus wraps near you, learn more about working with Express Print and how these wraps can support your marketing goals — reach out to your local studio today 073 625 5637

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At Express Print, we have 10 years experience in the print industry, building a reputation for fast, personalised service and high quality print and design. Our print facilities, design skills and service levels have helped thousands of businesses grow. And with Centres across the country, you have access to a print specialist close to you.

073 625 5637

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