4 simple ways to improve your next vehicle wrap

Marta Custic

Designing a vehicle wrap can be a daunting task, especially when tackling it for the first time. Before starting any type of design work, you first need to understand what you are creating and its purpose.

Vehicle wraps are used as moving ads to promote businesses in order to create brand recognition, and just like any design work you create there are a few guidelines and rules to take into consideration.

1. Understand your design brief and client’s message


Ideally, when a client asks for a vehicle wrap design, they should already have a logo designed, as the logo and brand identity need to be the main focus. The company logo serves as a form of identification, it conveys a message, story and idea which makes it the most valuable asset of any business or individual.

Your goal as a designer is to transfer that message to the wrap, this could be industry-related and should follow certain standards. Will a bright, fun rainbow colored design work well with a pharmaceutical company? The logo will give answers to many questions.
It is the starting point for any further design work, as it sets the tone and defines the style.

The goal of any design brief is to understand the client, what they do, find out their target audience and to receive all the information to place on your design.
Don’t be afraid to ask clients for more information, as this will save your time once you start working.

2. Keep it simple


You will only have a few seconds to grab the viewer’s attention when driving by. Keep the info short, memorable and the message should be easily understood.
The more information you put on the wrap, the less amount of time you have to deliver your message.

Key pieces of information are logo and brand identity, a slogan if available,the message ( what do they do? are they carpenters, lawyers, florists) and contact details like website, phone number and email address.
You really only need to know the brand, what they company does and how to reach them.

Here is an example of a simple design for free range eggs. Note the use of visual hierarchy to highlight the brand and logo, followed by key pieces of info like telephone number and website.

3. Photography


There is a lot of debate of whether or not photography should be used. The problem that you might be faced with is will the photography distract the viewer from the brand?

The following example shows how the use of several photos that could cause brand confusion.

What did you take away from the first example for free range eggs? And then compare it to the bakery wrap? What mood, message and tones do each deliver?
The goal is to remember the brand, not the photo.

When working with photographs remember to use high definition images with resolution at 720dpi, let your client know too, especially if they are providing the images.

3. Get noticed


from The five second rule isn’t just food related. It’s also important for moving vehicles advertising businesses. You will only have a short time to make an impact – so make your design memorable.

Legibility/visibility should be a priority. Old english calligraphic,script and italic fonts are generally harder to read, so keep all your important information in a simple font.
Don’t be afraid of white space. The following example shows a great way of highlighting the brand, without clutter.

Colors also play an important role in legibility. The bigger the contrast in color, the greater the legibility. A black and white color scheme will obviously have the biggest contrast, but using complementary colors on opposite sides of the color wheel can make a visual impact as shown below.

Finally, place your important details where they’ll be visible from a distance – you don’t want to place phone numbers where the door handles are. The sides have the biggest printable area, so prepare your layout with care.

4. Legality


Not all areas of a vehicle should be covered. This generally applies to windows, but it might be a good idea to check with your client and their country or state laws with the model of the car.

Next time you’re feeling creative why not try something new and create an awesome vehicle wrap.

For more tips check out “5 tips to get you started in vehicle wrap design“.

The author

Marta Custic
Marta Custic

Marta Custic a freelance graphic designer. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she is now based in Croatia, where she got her degree from the Faculty of Graphic Arts. See her 99designs portfolio here.

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