I asked a friend, who has 20 plus years of vehicle graphic installation, if he ever had anyone ask what will the vehicle wrap really look like. He was quiet for a second and answered sometimes. However, he added, there are times people should ask, and they don’t. He pulled out his phone and showed me a photo of a candy apple red four-door pickup truck. It was originally black but had recently been wrapped red. The vehicles’ owner paid more than $3,000 for the warp. The owner didn’t like it. My friend hadn’t wrapped the truck. He was hired to remove the red wrap and wrap it blue. To proof the wrap, he taped a large piece of the blue vinyl on the truck, giving the customer an idea what it will look like. Adding together the first wrap, removal, and second wrap, the client will spend more than $7,000.

The story above is a single, privately, owned vehicle, but what if it was a fleet of vehicles? How much could this mistake cost a business? The answer is it could cost a lot of time and money.

Thoroughly Checking the Design Layout

“I asked TKO Graphix sales, design, and customer service staff for helpful advice that TKO might offer customers. One topic suggested by several members of the sales team was how to proof your vehicle graphics layout. It seems too often, customers take a quick or incomplete look at the layout, and then sign off on it. If there’s a mistake, and TKO doesn’t catch it — that’s a problem. A provider, such as TKO Graphix, may find errors, but if it has to do with color, style, or content, the customer is the best person to review the information.” — How to Proof Your Vehicle Graphics Layout so it Doesn’t Cost You Time and Money

Has everyone approved it?

Colors, fonts, and copy should be checked by the customer before printing the graphic. Furthermore, it needs to be approved by all members of the client’s team who are involved in the vehicle graphics decision. For example, a layout could be approved, printed, and installation begun only to have the president of the business stop the production and start over because it wasn’t what he wanted. He never saw the layout. Believe me, it happens.

Is that a long bed or a short bed?  

Another consideration is making certain you’ve given the provider the right information about the vehicle. What does the designer need to know?  “The easy answer to what does a vehicle graphic designer need to know about your vehicle before she or he begins the vehicle graphics design process is – everything! But that’s not true, they don’t need to know the size of the motor, the color of the interior, or your favorite radio station but they pretty much need to know everything about the exterior of the vehicle from top to bottom.

This includes the make, model, color, options, and add-on equipment of the car or truck. One of the best ways to help a graphic designer serve you and meet your needs, as well as your expectations, is to furnish the designer with accurate and complete specifications in a timely manner.

For example, to say you have a 2019 Ford F150 isn’t enough information. The F150 is available in at least a dozen packages from XL, XLT, and Lariat to the Platinum. They’re available in regular cab, extended cab, two-door, four-door, and with multiple options. One graphic design will not fit all the variations of the 2019 F150.” — FAQ: What Does a Vehicle Graphic Designer Need to Know About My Vehicle?

Know what you want 

Before beginning the design process have an idea of what you want to accomplish with your fleet graphics. Is it branding, a call to action, lead generation, or to market your unique sales position? “Think about what’s most important for you to communicate; this is typically the company name, your logo, and a means of being contacted like your website or phone number. If there’s something special about the company that they want to promote, like 24-hour service, that would be excellent to include. Hours are probably less important because most trades work the same hours—unless people are on call round the clock, available weekends, or something unusual like that.” — 8 Vehicle Signage Experts Share Their Best Tips on Service Van Design

Add some color

“Are your businesses branded colors being used? Be sure to not only check the color on your logo, but also on the background, foreground, and fonts. “When choosing colors for your vehicle graphics, it may not be what color, but how colors of both the vehicle and your graphics contrast. Using poorly contrasted colors reduces the impact of vehicle advertising. Poorly chosen hues, designs that hide the message, and colors that don’t match your brand waste your marketing dollars. One should first consider the brand, logo, and vehicle colors.” — What Color Should I Wrap My Business Vehicle?

Getting Some Proof

What’s the difference between a layout and a proof? Some providers use the words interchangeably. At TKO we define a layout as the two-dimensional design either on screen or printed and a proof as printing part of the graphic to scale to place on the vehicle. On many jobs, we print two proofs, one for ourselves and one for the customer. We want to check the color and layout in real life, not only on a screen. Light, surroundings, and the vehicle itself all affect the perception of color. By placing a scaled proof on the vehicle, both the customer and TKO get a better understanding of how the graphics will look.

“2D concepts don’t always fit 3D vehicles. A few years ago, a major food product considered sponsoring an Indy race car. They wanted an image of their bottle applied to the car. They hired an advertising agency to design the vehicle graphic. It looked great on a computer screen. It looked wonderful on paper. However, it would’ve never worked on the race car. The 2D design didn’t take into account the angles and flow of the vehicle. It would’ve been an unrecognizable mess. Our team fixed it, and that’s something else the TKO Graphix design team excels at — taking a 2D concept and applying it to a 3D vehicle.” — 2 Keys to Great Vehicle Graphic Design

Don’t be one-sided

“Check every side of the vehicle, front, rear, and both sides. Check to see how the graphics are aligned. Do they fit the space? Is it the message you want to send and does it fulfill your purpose? Imagine the vehicle on the highway or parked at your shop, what kind of impression does it make? Before signing off be certain that the design works from every view of your fleet vehicle, because what good does a vehicle wrap do if a potential customer see’s only one side of your car or truck and the side they see doesn’t have your contact information?” — How to Proof Your Vehicle Graphics Layout so it Doesn’t Cost You Time and Money

So, What Will the Vehicle Wrap Really Look Like?

If you’ve done your homework by thoroughly reviewing the design layout, and then checking it again, you’ll have a very good idea of how the wrap will look on the vehicle. If you’re still uncertain ask for a proof. A scaled proof or partial should be enough. There’s usually little or no need to print the entire graphic. However, that can be done for a fee.

If we can answer any questions about vehicle graphics, design, print, or layout, Contact Us, we know what we’re talking about – we have the proof.