Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Designing Effective Truck Wraps for Small Businesses

By Dan Antonelli / President & Creative Director, NJ Advertising Advertising Agency Graphic D-Signs, Inc.

Making the Most of Your Company's Vehicle Advertising and Truck Wraps

Vehicle advertising for Rhode Island-Based dry cleaner. We've all seen the truck and vehicle wrap advertising on the road whose design makes us believe - if we knew nothing else about the company - that it was part of this company's fleet of vehicles. And we've also seen the flip side of vehicle advertising - when, because of the design of the vehicle's graphics, it's clear that the company has only one or two trucks - or worse yet - you can't even read the message or know who it was for.

Most clients really don't give this a lot of thought. As designers, our job to find out what image they are trying to portray, who their audience is,  and design accordingly - while designing for the medium as well.

Not all vehicles need a full wrap.
Advertising is about perception. What we do is build a perception of our client’s business for the public to see and hopefully buy into. We make the client look the part, by carefully considering how that each element of their branding is integrated into their vehicle advertising and the perception it will ultimately portray - especially this very public medium.

Start with a solid brand, then build around the brand and integrate on the vehicles.

Along with branding and logo development, most of the clients who come to us are looking for a more professional and unified presentation of brand identity. One component of the implementation of their brand is obviously how it is portrayed on their vehicles.Without a good brand, vehicle advertising is almost certain to fail, or be ineffective.

Truck wraps need to stand out - not fit in.
Many of these clients are very small businesses, sometimes with only one or two service vans. They are hoping we can help with them present their business as a larger, more professional and reputable firm. They want to look like the bigger firms--even if, in reality, they aren't.

Sometimes there are very basic design traits that give the connotation of being part of a fleet. Generally, it's a simplified design element that remains consistent, or simple way in which the brand, or brand icon, is portrayed. Another technique we like to use is horizontal striping elements. Whether on a van, pickup or truck, it's a simple technique that works well to give the appearance of a fleet or franchised business.

We know when we've done our job

Competing with the big franchises requires a similar approach.
Our best compliment is when a client tells us a story of pulling up to their customers’ homes, and having the customer tell them that they “see their trucks all over.” We both share a good laugh especially if, in reality they have only one truck. That’s the power of good vehicle advertising.

So, while vehicle wraps with confusing pictures, competing graphics and non-existent branding seem to be all the rage these days, take a step back for a minute. Think long and hard about the message and how best to communicate it. So many wraps fail in basic design principles.

It seems to me that many wraps are designed for the sake of the designer’s ego, or what currently looks cool or trendy at the moment. Remember: as designers our job is communicate our client’s message as effectively as possible.

Here are a few examples of jobs we’ve designed for various clients who shared a similar request: Make us look bigger, more reputable, better established—and at the same time—reinforce our brand identity. Or for even more examples, check out our portfolio from our NJ advertising agency of some great vehicle wrap examples for other small businesses.

Graphic D-Signs, Inc - The Small Business Advertising Agency is a New Jersey based advertising agency serving the marketing needs of small business with logo and branding creation, web design and online marketing, print design and collateral development and traditional advertising and consultation services.