The Ins and Outs of Police and Security Vehicle Graphics
One of the great things about vehicle wraps is the incredible variety of colors, finishes, and textures they offer compared to vehicle paint. But for police car wraps, security and law enforcement vehicles, certain guidelines may restrict the range of possible designs because certain color schemes tend to work well for these vehicles, and local and state regulations usually require specific graphics to appear in specific places. Other considerations include the strategic use of reflective graphics and the aesthetics of creating an authoritative presence on the street. In this article, we’ll explore the strategies behind police and security vehicle graphics.
We’ve come a long way from the ol’ black and white
Many police vehicle graphic designs still follow the tradition of being predominantly black and white because these contrasting colors create immediate recognition from a distance—an important consideration for crime deterrence. But with vinyl vehicle wraps, additional colors are easily added, and jurisdictions frequently incorporate green, red, brown, and blue into their color schemes. Tan and brown are frequently favored by rural law enforcement agencies.
Private security vehicles often use a larger palette of colors than those used on police and sheriff vehicles to make a clear brand statement, but they are still required to carry certain graphics in specific places to clearly identify them as private law enforcement patrols.
Common components of security and law enforcement vehicle wraps
Beyond the colors used, several graphic conventions are typically employed in the creation of police and security vehicle graphics:
- Reflective graphics: Reflective strips and other components are frequently part of law enforcement vehicle graphics for enhanced visibility and easy identification.
- Name of the security company or law enforcement entity: The word “Police,” “Sheriff,” etc., or the name of the security provider is usually the largest graphic on a vehicle.
- Vehicle ID number: This is a requirement for all law enforcement and security vehicles. Different legal jurisdictions have varied requirements for the specific location of this graphic on the vehicle.
- Badge, shield, or star: A standard part of law enforcement vehicle graphics, this emblem creates instant recognition in the public eye. Many private security companies utilize a similar emblem that identifies them as paid security while distinguishing them from official law enforcement entities.
- Motto or mission statement: Although not a requirement, both security and law enforcement organizations frequently include a few words intended to inspire the public. Examples include “In God We Trust,” “To Protect and to Serve,” or as with the example of Signal 88, a national, private security company, “We’re Here.”
- Emergency phone number or contact web address: For law enforcement agencies, this is usually “911,” the standard, nationwide emergency phone number. Private security organizations often place their company’s web address on all patrol vehicles.
Vinyl vehicle wrap options
While some organizations use full wraps that leave no paint exposed, there are other, less expensive options available. If a new vehicle is purchased with one of the colors used by the organization, only parts of the vehicle need to be wrapped with vinyl or covered with other graphics.
Private security agencies can get very creative with graphics, transforming ordinary cars and trucks into patrol vehicles that look official and instill public confidence, while making a tasteful statement about the company’s brand promise.
Stealth vehicle graphics
While most vehicle graphics used in law enforcement are designed to create maximum visibility, display clear identification for the public, and deter crime, some operations call for the opposite approach. Stealth graphics are used on vehicles that need to be less noticeable yet still identifiable as patrol vehicles when given a closer glance. High contrast blacks and whites are replaced with single-color body designs and matte finish graphics that blend into the background when not exposed to direct light.
A one-stop source for security and law enforcement vehicle graphics
US Logo has provided vehicle wraps for numerous law enforcement agencies, and we understand the unique challenges of creating a professional presence in the context of good graphic design. For private security companies, we provide graphic design expertise that helps to highlight the uniqueness of each agency while strictly adhering to local and state regulations. Our Central Procurement Web Portal system provides an online platform where security franchises can make vehicle graphics available to all their locations, assuring brand consistency from one franchise to the next, while staying in compliance with regulatory mandates across multiple state and local jurisdictions.