If you examined most wraps on the road today, you’d think the concept of designing a simple, easy-to-read message was difficult to understand. It’s really not, once you understand the fundamentals of what it takes to build a good wrap.
The following rules can help you better understand the fundamentals for good wrap design and vehicle advertising. Whether you are a designer hoping to improve your layouts, or a small business owner trying to gain market share, these tips will help you get the maximum impact and return on investment for your outdoor vehicle advertising programs.
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.
The brand is the message, period.
Rule #2: Brand and Tagline
There’s only 3 or 4 things a good wrap needs: strong brand implementation, and perhaps tagline messaging, a web address, and maybe 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 #3: Design to Stand Out, Not Fit In
This isn’t the part where many might say diamond plate, carbon fiber, tribal flames will make your truck wrap stand out. Quite the contrary. 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. Vehicle wrap designs are innovative simply because they are unlike what everyone else seems to be doing. So — they stand out.
Rule #4: 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, of course, a primary concern. You have very limited time to capture the viewer’s attention and have your brand and message be understood and remembered.