The 7 Essentials Elements of Police Car Graphic Design

by Deborah Scott on April 5, 2018

 Designs Police Cars Riveting Wraps Tahoes Interceptors Charger

Vehicle wraps or graphics are being used by businesses to help distinguish their vehicles from the traffic crowd and to raise people's brand awareness or to advertise their marketing campaign. 

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1) Black and White  (optional)

Police car door wraps for police fleets Riveting Wraps Bellevue WABlack and White.  It's the iconic, immediate recognizable identification of a police vehicle in the united states.  In the past, car doors and roofs of most police units were painted white, while the trunk, hood, front fenders, and rear quarter panels were painted black.  With the evolution of quality vehicle wrap and graphics vinyl, police have the economical option to purchase an all black vehicle and simply wrap the areas white that fit their design.  Many cities find that they can save money by purchasing a single color vehicle for deliver and then customizing the graphics on locally. 

The primary reason for black and white as a base design is the high contrast and immediately identifiable markings.  Police have noted that they stand out more than single color vehicles.  This is valuable for police that want to maintain a high public presence that can potentially serve a a deterrent to crimes and traffic violations. 

While black and white is the traditional way to go for police car design, many agencies opt for a single color vehicle with identification graphics (see below).  Other common colors for single color police vehicles are black, white, brown, green, red and blue. (although red is often reserved for fire and rescue vehicles) 


Gold Police Graphics for Police cars and SUVs by Riveting Wraps Renton WAThis probably goes without saying, but the primary reason to mark police fleet cars with graphics is for identification as police.  The word POLICE is almost always the largest single marking on the vehicle for easy identification.  For black and whites, some choose to let the black and white identification do the heavy lifting and emphasize the city or county name more than the word police.  In the above example, the black and white combined with the large text for POLICE maximize impressions and community police presence. 

3) City (or Jurisdiction)

Police and city or county name for police car graphics by Riveting WrapsAll marked police vehicles have jurisdiction identification.  As mentioned above, whether the emphasis is on the word police or the name of the town, city or county depends the communication objectives of the police organization. 

In the example to the right you can see that Renton has secondary emphasis to the word police.  Even so, it is very easy to see that this is a Renton Police vehicle.  

4) Vehicle ID Number

Police car identification numbers design by Riveting WrapsEvery vehicle has a unique vehicle number.  We coordinate with the city or police fleet managers to ensure the vehicle identification number matches with the radio identification number prior to installing on a new vehicle.  So much data is collected, stored, transmitted and processed in each vehicle that coordinating the vehicle identification with the exterior graphics number is essential.

Vehicle identification numbers are often installed on sides, rear and roof of the vehicle.   

5) Badge, Star or Shield

Police car graphics by riveting wraps renton WAA police badge, star or shield is perhaps the most visible and recognizable symbol of policing around the world. From a practical standpoint, officers wear badges as a means to identify who they are and who they work for. The same is true for including a badge, star or shield on the vehicle.  Our wide format printer can print police graphics details up to 1200 dpi.  The results is an impressively detailed replication of the local agencies most important symbol.

Here is a link to a great article about The History of the Police Badge.  While not essential information for police vehicle graphics, it is really interesting to learn the origins of the symbol of those who put their lives on the line to protect their communities and keep us safe.  

6) Motto or Other Symbols

Police moto or values graphics for police cars by Riveting WrapsIs this really essential?  No.  Do all individual police departments have mottos?  No. 

In the US, each police department is it's own entity.  It is not unusual for a department to have a motto or values that encapsulate their philosophy.  These values or mottos build pride within a department and reinforce publicly the role of the department within the community. 

Like the badge, these values help bond the department together and help foster positive relationships with those they serve.  If your police department has a motto or values that help create a unifying identity within your organization we recommend that you include it on  your vehicles given their high exposure to the public.

Other patriotic symbols, like the American flag, can be included on a police car.  Expressions like "In God We Trust" is also commonly included on police vehicles in some parts of the country. 

7) 911 or Emergency Contact Info

Police Interceptor designs and wraps by Riveting Wraps Bothell Police Department Bothell WAIt is always helpful to remind the public enough that help is always just a 911 call away.  The three-digit telephone number "9-1-1" has been designated as the "Universal Emergency Number," for citizens throughout the United States to request emergency assistance. It is intended as a nationwide telephone number and gives the public fast and easy access to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).

In addition to 911, we have also included a reflective strip on the back of the vehicle with direct contact information for the local department. 

A Quick Word on Stealth or Subdued Graphics

Stealth Graphics (also known as Ghost Graphics or Subdued Graphics) have all the same design elements as a standard department police car, only without the white doors and with much lower contrast colors.  The Stealth graphics are designed to have a similar affect as an unmarked police car.  They are frequently created using a matte version of the vehicle color or reflective graphics for higher visibility at night.  You can learn more about this style of graphics here.

Bring Your Vehicle Graphics Resume To Life

New Call-to-action Riveting Wraps mission is to transform our clients' vehicles with wraps and grahics that allows them to effectively communicate to their targeted community.

For more information about vehicle marketing, call us at (425)368-5007 or email us at

Topics: Vehicle Graphics Design, Tahoe Wraps & Graphics, Police Vehicle Wraps & Graphics, Utility Interceptor Wraps & Graphics, Dodge Charger Wraps & Graphics

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