die-cut VS digital printing graphics kit
Adding graphics to your motorcycle is a popular trend all around the world, but what is the best way to do it? Two of the most commonly used methods are die-cut printing and a digital printed graphics kit.
Both styles of kits have their pros and cons, and a big part of choosing between them comes down to personal preference. The question is: what exactly is the difference between the two?
Here is all you need to know about die-cut and digital printed graphics kits to help you decide what style to choose.
Die-Cut Graphics Kit
Die-cutting essentially means to cut flat materials into custom shapes to perfectly fit the graphic design. When using a die-cut graphics kit to create stickers, the artwork, vinyl, and paper backing are all seamlessly shaped and trimmed to perfection, leaving no empty background or blank spaces.
One of the biggest advantages of a die-cut graphics kit is the possibility to create intricate or complicated designs. The customizable cutter lets you get creative without compromising on the finish and look. Another benefit is that many die-cut graphics kits use high-quality thicker vinyl. That means they tend to last for a long time without degrading in quality.
Graphics created through die-cutting are budget friendly without compromising too much on the quality. You can still expect a several years of use and top-quality vibrant colors.
The graphics do not come pre-cut, meaning you need to do it on the spot as you are applying them to the motorcycle. It involves trimming and fitting the piece to the fairing of the bike as you go.
Digital Printed Graphics Kit
Digital printing technology is an advanced form of graphic creation that involves sending digital files directly to be press-printed onto the necessary material. It is a time-effective way of printing because it cuts out the need for plates and can transfer many different colors in one process rather than layering.
Because of the flexibility allowed by digital printing, any graphics created this way come out as close to perfectly fit as possible. Usually, you can rely on around 99% accuracy in the final cut, which is done for you as part of the printing process. All in all, a digital printing kit is one of the top choices for motorcycle bodywork graphics.
The accuracy of the fit with digital printed graphics kits is excellent, making it extremely easy to apply with precision. It is much easier during the application process if you don’t need to think about cutting anything down.
Digital printed graphics kits are the much more expensive option of the two. Although the quality reflects the price, the difference is not always worth the extra cost.
Both graphic kits have a lot of benefits and can produce excellent artwork, but there are a few central differences that are worth noting. Although there are a lot of similarities between the two, it is the little details that can make a difference.
Here are the most important differences between die-cut graphics kits and digital printed graphics kits and a few notes on why they matter.
As we mentioned already, die-cut graphics kits are perfect for intricate stickers and prints that you want completely background free. Digital printing can also achieve a similar finish, but it is not the main appeal. It is also not always possible to cut out the small details that you can get with die cuts.
Depending on what type of digital printing you go for, the background could be a solid color, an image, or plain vinyl. With both types of graphics kits, you can decide whether or not you want an outline and what color you want it to be.
There are several differences when it comes to colors, from how they are printed to how long they last. The first thing worth noting is the color printing process. With die-cut printing, shapes are cut from large rolls of colored vinyl, so several layers must be added for a multi-color logo or artwork. In comparison, digitally printed graphics kits transfer colors all at once onto one large white vinyl sheet.
Designs that have a complex mix of colors may be better suited to digital printing- as long as there is no gold or silver. Metallic and neon colors do not come through with digital printing. If the design you want has these shades included, die-cut printing is the way to go.
In terms of color quality, both graphics kits produce deep vibrant tones but through very different methods. Die-cutting takes longer but produces longer lasting color depth, while the faster digital printing method can fade a little bit faster.
The bottom line often comes down to price, and there is a clear price difference between the two types of graphics kits. Digital printing is more expensive due to the technology involved in the process. It is significantly cheaper to opt for die-cutting, but the quality may also be reflected depending on the style of the sticker.
There are two things to consider about durability when deciding between the die cut and digital printing graphics kits: color quality and weather resistance. Graphics on a motorcycle go through a lot and spend many hours in the sun, so it is essential to have a kit that can handle it.
As we already mentioned, the colors tend to stay stronger for longer with a die-cut graphics kit. That said, digitally printed graphics are more resilient overall and can last for many years without showing signs of wear and tear. Digital printing uses thicker vinyl with a tougher exterior, so it is better prepared to face the trials and tribulations that come with biking.
If your graphics are going to spend a significant length of time in the sun, it may be worth considering die cut instead. Although they may not be quite as tough as their digital cousins, they hold their color much better. Sun bleaching is not a good look, so consider the pros and cons of both sides.
Die-cut graphics kits are post-cut, whereas digital printed graphic kits are pre-cut. What that means exactly is that when you order a die-cut piece, you need to cut the large connecting sections yourself before applying it to the fairing. Getting the shape and fit right takes care and attention at this stage.
The digital graphics do not require you to do this, as they are already 100% pre-cut and ready to go. Everything is shaped to fit the fairing perfectly (or as close as it can get to perfect), so there is no need to cut while working on the bike.
- Digitally printed graphics kits are damage resistant and likely to last much longer before needing to be replaced.
- Die-cut graphics kits have better color depth and hold up better under sunlight.
- It is more expensive to choose digitally printed graphics for your motorcycle.
- If the design is intricate and complicated, then die-cut printing is the best choice.
- There are some colors that are impossible to achieve through digital printing, so it is worth researching before submitting a design.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the adhesive that is used on the back of the graphics damaging to the paintwork?
Despite being extremely high quality with extreme adhesiveness, the glue on the back of most graphics is perfectly safe for the paintwork on your motorcycle. In most cases, hot soapy water is all it takes to gently rub and remove the stickers should you decide you want to.
What is the difference between die-cut and kiss-cut stickers?
Almost everything about the die cut and kiss cut graphics kits are produced the same way but with one key difference. With die cuts, the paper backing is cut perfectly in line with the design, whereas a kiss cut stops at only the vinyl. This means you are left with the background of the paper base.
How long do motorcycle graphics usually last?
It really depends on the type of graphics you use and how well applied they are. Digital printed graphics kits last the longest, with some staying in impressive condition for five or six years. Die-cut stickers are unlikely to peel off in any less time, but they may lose their surface layer after a couple of years of stones, wind, sun, and general wear and tear.
Choosing the best for your bike is everyone’s priority. Whether you choose one of our die-cut options or go for a digital printed design, you can rely on excellent quality with serious staying power.
When you search our site, any kits without the label ‘wrap kit’ beside the name is a premium die-cut graphics kit to help you narrow down the search. No matter what you choose, we promise the best. Color, style, precision, fit, and durability are all the things that we do dest. You can count on us to give your motorcycle the graphics makeover it deserves.