Rules of a Good Vehicle Wrap
Rule #1: Start with a Great Brand
One reason that so many wraps fail from a marketing perspective is because the business has a poor brand identity and logo. The brand should always be the primary message for a vehicle wrap, unless you have national brand recognition. For small businesses trying to make an impact in their community, the message is always about the brand. Starting with a poor brand means you’ve failed before you’ve begun, by wasting money on a wrap and missing a huge marketing opportunity.
Rule #2: Don’t Use Photos as the main element of the design
A photo is not a brand identity; it’s just a product. It doesn’t connect me with the business name. Maybe it connects me with what the company does, but so should a good brand logo.
Here’s an example, a contractor with a picture of an air conditioner on the side of his van. Great. Now I know you do air conditioning, but who are you? I don’t know, because I only have 2.5 seconds to view the message. Or consider the contractor and the picture of a house. Great. A house. But are you a siding company, a roofing company, a window installer, a landscaper or an electrician? I have no idea, since the photo is the dominant element that’s what the viewer focuses on, I don’t have time to search out the small details. After my 2.5 seconds are up, your message is lost with all the other things trying to grab my attention.
Rule #3: Limit Your Advertising Copy
There’s only 3 or 4 things a good wrap needs: strong brand implementation, and perhaps tagline messaging, a web address, and a phone number. Bullet lists, which look more like shopping lists, have no place on a vehicle. This isn’t the yellow pages. Would you rather list 10 things and have none remembered, or convey one to two memorable takeaways? If this truck were a billboard, how much copy would be on it? Billboards have the exact same challenges as vehicle advertising. If you prioritize your copy, it will be more effective. In general, the hierarchy should always be: BRAND, TAGLINE, WEB and/or PHONE NUMBER
Rule #4: Design to Stand Out, Not Fit In
This isn’t the part where I say diamond plate, carbon fiber and tribal flames will make your truck wrap stand out. Quite the opposite. By eliminating all those fills, noisy backgrounds, photos, bevels, and glows, you’ll be on your way to designing a wrap which actually stands out. The wrap market is littered with visual noise. When we see something with impact — something that we can actually read and remember — it can’t help but stand out among the visual clutter. (That doesn’t mean the design needs to be boring, just done right)
Rule #5: Simple and Obvious is Good
If the viewer needs to work too hard to figure out the primary brand messaging, it’s an opportunity lost. The medium isn’t the same as print design, where the viewer can stop, absorb the advertising and try and understand the message. Consider that one, primary takeaway you’re hoping to leave with the viewer. What is it? And does the wrap effectively communicate it? Is it lost in the imagery? Distance legibility is a primary concern. You have very limited time to capture the viewer’s attention and have your brand and message be understood and remembered.
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