Winning Truck Wraps

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Everyone can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of a fine-tuned automobile. It peels across the asphalt with grace, but also with an epic design and coloration. You immediately unroll a slew of preconceived notions about the driver. Maybe there’s a millionaire behind the wheel or someone famous. Maybe it’s just a rental! But overall, your perception is that the man/woman driving is financially savvy, stylish and sports a high-caliber lifestyle.


How does this apply to truck wraps? Chances are slim that you are getting the absolute best value from your company vehicles. In truth, few businesses—especially small businesses—are reaping the full benefit of what essentially is a mobile billboard for your brand. And if it’s not working for you, it’s working against you.


A Big Brand Perception

The fundamental point of a brand is to create a desired perception. You want to show that you are the absolute best and most appropriate choice for your particular area of service. The vehicles in your company’s fleet can help you achieve that perception, maintain it and bring it to new heights, but only if used properly.


Think of big brands such as McDonald’s or Dunkin’ Donuts that enlist mega 18-wheelers to transport their inventory. Every one of those vehicles, apart from being transportation, is a monster-sized advertising space. Oftentimes they’ve got a signature product or service represented, but it’s always within the same brand identity of the national-sized company.

Working with the resources you have, you can generate the same or even better results for your marketing campaign through the avenue of fleet branding. All you need is the proper elements in place. A well-executed fleet branding initiative is just the step you need to take your service area by storm. A fresh truck wrap design will turn heads, get you noticed and promote easy brand recognition.


Your brand will appear healthy, active and mobile – not to mention fully capable of surpassing expectations. The ability to actually deliver quality service will be up to you and your team, but the hard half of the battle will already be won.


The Best Brands, The Best Wraps

At the foundation of your marketing strategy exists your branding. If it’s not on point, your business is not going to get far. You will have to fight that much harder for every sale, and in the event something doesn’t go according to plan (which often happens), you will be fighting a losing battle against depreciating credibility.


Your brand begets marketing success, but to have a great brand you truly must have a great logo design. The very best logo designs meet the following criteria:


• Ties into the nature of the business.

• Is unique when compared to competitors.

• Uses original, professionally rendered artwork.

• Can be replicated across any media mix without losing quality.

• Appeals to your target audience (not your personal preference).

• Is easily recognizable from a distance if utilized in outdoor advertising.


If you haven’t seriously considered the power of a rebrand, imagine building a new and better company in only a fraction of the time. It’s your chance to really unleash the full power of your expertise and customer-centric value. Your company vehicles will be the first interaction with your brand for many prospective clients. That’s an opportunity you can’t afford to waste.


When it comes to brand building, many small-business owners have the wrong idea. They believe that any designer, no matter their focus or portfolio, is capable of creating a strategic logo and brand design. They might even think that a relative or close friend who knows Photoshop can handle the task. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and in reality, only a small portion of designers dedicate their skills specifically to this type of craft.


For something as important as your company’s branding, you simply don’t want to skimp on quality. Not only do you risk sending a subpar message, but it is also a waste of your marketing dollars. The true-blue method for choosing the right designer or agency to take on your branding is quite simple. First, perform your own due diligence and research the portfolios of several different agencies.


The portfolio serves as the track record for what type of work these teams are capable of completing. If you like what you see, reach out and see what they can offer. Second, make sure that a big part of the process involves collaboration. The brand-building process involves give-and-take. You need to have a say and not simply put money down and await the final product.


Some Rules for Wraps

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.


Don’t Use Photos: Some disagree with me on this point. However, I’d argue that any wrap that uses a photo could have been more effectively done without one. Consider the contractor and the picture of a house on its truck or van. Great—a house. But are you a painting company, siding company, roofing company, window installer, powerwasher, landscaper or an electrician? I have no idea, since the photo is the dominant element. I have only 2.5 seconds to look at your message; after my 2.5 seconds are up, your message is lost amidst all the other things trying to grab my attention. A more powerful brand integration would be more effective.


Your Advertising Copy: There are only three or four things a good wrap needs: strong brand implementation, 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? In general, the hierarchy should always be: BRAND, TAGLINE, WEB and/or PHONE NUMBER.


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 that actually stands out.


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. Consider that one primary takeaway you’re hoping to leave with the viewer. Figure out what it is and make sure the wrap effectively communicates it. 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.


In the end, you need to make sure to commit to the project once it is in play. Try to learn the necessary jargon and connect with your agency team; it makes a world of difference. Hopefully, they can continue to add value to your marketing efforts, even well after your brand is built. After that, you should be well on your way to a truck wrap design that truly is spectacular.


Dan Antonelli is the CEO and creative director of New Jersey advertising agency Graphic D-Signs Inc. The Small Business Advertising Agency, and the author of Building A Big Small Business Brand, available at For more information, visit

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