6 No No’s of wrap design

First off, my passenger took this picture so no lives were endangered in the pursuit of this article.

We’ve all seen them, vehicles with writing or cool graphics on them as we drive down the street.  It actually keeps me entertained as I drive, trying to see what industry each vehicle is in.  Most of these are well designed, so it is easy to determine what the business does.  Sometimes, however, you come across a vehicle that is poorly designed making it very hard, if not impossible to determine what business they partake in.  This can be due to several circumstances:

  • Text too small
  • Graphics having nothing to do with the business (although often fun to look at)
  • Too much text
  • Too little text
  • Wrong font choice
  • Poor color choice

This list contains the main culprits for poor vehicle graphics.  There are others, but these are the biggest issues I’ve seen out there.

Text too small: If your customers can not read the text, why put it on the vehicle?  Yes, it may be fine if you are parked all of the time, and all of  the people that may read it are pedestrians walking very close to the vehicle.  Here they can walk up and read your text easily. The problem occurs when you are out driving the vehicle around.  You want to make it so that everyone that sees your vehicle will easily know what business you are in.  For each inch of text height, you get an additional 20 feet of distance that the text can be read.  This is reduced a bit when the text is on a moving platform.

Graphics having nothing to do with the business:  Many people throw cool graphics on their vehicle without them having anything to do with their business.  Yes, you may get a lot of looks, but most of those looks are from people questioning what business the vehicle is in.  The graphics are the first thing people look at when seeing a wrapped vehicle.  Make sure the graphic points back to the business…ie…a logo, or design that has to do with the industry desired.

Too much text:  Like the picture shown above, too much text can be confusing as well.  Usually this is combined with text too small.  People want to get as much out of their graphics as possible, so they try to squeeze as much information onto the vehicle as possible.  You need to know your vehicle.  You can  put the same amount of information on a small car as you can on a panel truck.  More often than not, less is best.  You want to peak interest in your company, not give them a full portfolio of what you do.   Give a list of the most important things you do.  Get the customer to call to get additional information.  Ensure your contact information (phone and web site) are easily seen.

Too little text: Sometimes, there isn’t enough text to determine what the company does.  Just putting a company logo on the door, although it may look cool, doesn’t necessarily mean people driving by will know who you are.  Unless you are a big multinational corporation like McDonalds, I suggest you give a little more information than just your logo.

Wrong font choice: Your text may be tall enough and the wording may be clear enough, yet your potential customers may still be shaking their heads when seeing your graphics because of the font you have used.  Pick a font that is too thin or exotic, and you risk keeping all of that great information from your customers.  Sure, a big script font may look impressive, but if it isn’t easily read, you’re going to lose potential customers.  Pick a font that is easy to read.  It doesn’t have to be super bold, but it should be thick enough to keep your viewers from squinting to make out the letters.  People will be reading the text on your vehicle while they (and you) are in motion.  Keep it simple.

Poor color choice: You  may have all of the correct text, at the correct size, but still have a poor wrap due to the colors being used.  You may love certain colors together, but if they are not easy to read on your vehicle, then they shouldn’t be used.  You have to take into account the background color of the vehicle.  Make sure to try a sample against your vehicle before choosing a particular color.  Vinyl often seems to change color depending on the lighting.  Take a look at the vinyl in both lighted and darker conditions.  A proof may not accurately show how it is going to look in real life, so get a sample (pay if need be) before settling on colors.

As you can see, there are many things that can turn your traveling billboard into a dud.  Although vehicle graphics are one of the cheapest forms of advertising based on a cost per view metric, it doesn’t do any good if your customers see your vehicle, but still don’t comprehend what it is you can provide them with.  Remember, you often get more with less in a vehicle wrap.  Don’t provide your full company history, just give the basics and get them to call for additional information.  Be sure to work with your sign company to come up with the best possible design.  Here at Front Range Vital Signs, we keep all of these items in mind when designing your vehicle graphics.

Have other reasons for wrap failures?  Add comments below.

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