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A blog dedicated to custom commercial signage, vehicle wraps and graphics, and business signs of all kinds!

8 things to NEVER do in vehicle wrap design

Posted on July 11, 2014 | Posted by Brooke Randell

Earlier this week we posted an article about the five things every car with vehicle graphics should have, but now we're going to talk about design faux-pas that are not only unnecessary, they are bad practice, bad form, or bad taste. Although we'd never want to put a damper on your blossoming creative spirit, some things just shouldn't be put on your vehicle! For the most effective and professional-looking vehicle advertisements, avoid the following:

Vehicle wrap design fails

This serious anti-smoking ad placed on a school bus to target kids who have begun smoking turns into a joke when the wrap installers and designers don't think about text placement before applying the wrap.

1. Clip art: Nope, nope, nopedy nope. Not only are clip art files often too small to be put on a vehicle wrap without becoming super pixelated, but clip art looks cheap and unprofessional. Unless you have your own professional design resources, it's definitely worth it to outsource your design work and have a professional graphic designer create your company logo and marketing graphics. They will know how to create custom vector art that can be made big enough to put on your vehicle without getting distorted or pixelated.

2. QR codes: You used to be able to see the Rorschach test-like squares on everything from cereal boxes to business cards, but lately they seem to be falling out of favor. Although all iPhones and Android phones now have a scanner built in, it's not a widely known fact and the trend never really broke out of the tech-savvy crowd. Not only are QR codes going out of style, they would never be very effective on a vehicle anyway. Although someone could potentially scan the code while your car is parked and be directed to your website, many (if not most) people who see your vehicle wrap will see it while it's driving on the road. This means that the information on your wrap needs to be easy to see, understand, and remember. It would be nearly impossible (not to mention extremely unsafe) for people to try and scan the QR code on your moving vehicle. 

3. Low-resolution images: Your vehicle wrap should be a professional advertisement that reflects and markets your company to those who see it. Low-res images will make your wrap look tacky and poorly made. It will also obscure the image and make it difficult for people looking at the wrap to tell what the image is of. The bigger the image you send your wrap installers, the better! As a general rule of thumb, the best images will have pixel dimensions in the several thousands. For instance, images that are 3000 X 2300 are a good size. Whatever image you provide is going to be blown up to cover your vehicle, so by providing a high-resolution image in the first place, you are more likely to have a crisp and clean looking print on your vehicle.

4. Logos that have nothing to do with your company: Don't do anything that distracts from advertising your own company or services on your vehicle. Covering your back window in different bumper stickers will detract from your own logo advertisements on the vehicle. We also get a lot of requests for stickers for popular brand logos like Monster energy drinks. Unless you are actually being sponsored by a company like that, it's best to avoid tacking on extra logos onto your vehicle. Even if you are a company—like a non-profit—that relies heavily on sponsors, it's better to include their logos on your other marketing material like programs or posters because people won't have a lot of time to digest the information on your vehicle wrap and other logos will distract from more important information like your phone number or company name. 

5. Red herring images: Have you ever seen things like a van for a pest control company with an inexplicable cartoon astronaut as their company logo because they "zap bugs out of this world"? Basically any advertisement that uses images seemingly unrelated to what the company actually does based on a cheesy tagline or inside joke can be hurting instead of helping their company's marketing efforts. These might seem like a fun idea, but they can be confusing to the potential customers looking at your advertisement. Try and use images that will immediately let people know what goods or services you are advertising. 

8 things to NEVER do in vehicle wrap design

Red herrings are best left to murder mystery stories like Clue (1985) and not advertising. 

6. Too much information: You've all heard the phrase "less is more," and it's generally true for vehicle wrap design. Turning your wrap design into an "I Spy" game by loading it with text and images is going to totally negate the money you spent on advertising because no one's going to be able to read or understand anything on the wrap! Your wrap doesn't have to be a bare bones list of your contact information and nothing else, but try and balance what's important for the overall design and advertising ability of the wrap and what's just extra fluff.

7. Not enough information: Conversely, you don't want a wrap design that leaves important information out! Company name, phone number, URL, and logo should all be on there. For the essential things every car with vehicle graphics needs, check out our blog post.

8. Teeny tiny logos and text: Go big or go home! People won't be able to read really small text as it's flying by them on the road. Use big and legible fonts that people will be able to read from a distance. Use a large image of the most current rendition of your logo that is the same as the one on your website so that when people look up your company after seeing your vehicle wrap, they'll see the same imagery and know that they have found the right company. 

Hopefully this helps you in your decision on how to design your future vehicle wraps! For more tips on laying out your design, get our free eBook by clicking the image below!



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