What is the fleet graphics 5-second rule, you ask? It has nothing to do with you scooping the peanut M&M off your kitchen floor within 5-seconds of dropping it. I’m talking about the amount of time your fleet graphics have to make an impact on viewers.

According to 3M™, a premium adhesive vinyl film manufacturer, to Grab Consumers’ Attention, “You have 3-5 seconds to direct consumers’ eyes to the areas you’d like them to focus on. To make an impression with a visual image, you must draw attention to the portion of the wrap that you have identified as most critical through effective design.”

Too Many Distractions

As stated in the article, Your Ability to Focus Has Probably Peaked : Here’s How, “It turns out, attention isn’t as simple as it seems. In fact, paying attention involves two separate functions: “enhancement” (our ability to focus on things that matter) and “suppression” (our ability to ignore the things that don’t). Interestingly, enhancement and suppression are not opposites; they are distinct processes in the brain.”

If we apply this theory to the design of fleet graphics, a successful design should primarily focus on the message, while avoiding the distractions that can suppress the main message. Too often, an over-designed fleet graphic or vehicle wrap takes attention away from the message with busy backgrounds and type effects that are hard to read. As a result, the viewer will ignore the entire message and won’t be compelled to even read it.

You have 5 seconds to grab attention; after that, your wrap is a waste of time.

None of us have enough hours in the day, and certainly don’t have time to decipher poorly planned fleet graphics. Our society is just – busy. We do more at work than we did a decade ago and with COVID, most of us have taken on even more. People rush from work to the soccer game or dance recital. They run home to make dinner or check the kid’s homework. People seldom stop or slow down, and that includes driving. People don’t have the time to look at most fleet graphics so, when planning your graphics, they must capture attention quickly.

Whether a consumer is driving or walking in a crowded business district, thousands of messages fight for their attention—signs, billboards, and fleet graphics come at people constantly. It’s impossible to take them all in, and even the best graphics only receive just seconds of anyone’s attention.

In Finding Brand Success In The Digital World, Jon Simpson, a Forbes Council Member, shared his thoughts, “Digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. At some point, we start a screening process for what we engage with and start ignoring brands and advertising messages, unless it’s something that we have a personal interest in. Of the brands that you have interacted with today, which ones did the best job of marketing to your needs or interests? Do they have a clear message? How did they connect with you?”

How to Defeat the Fleet Graphics 5-Second Rule

To beat the fleet graphics 5-second rule, you must focus on your message and make it as clear as possible. Sometimes semi-trailers, trucks or vehicles with vinyl graphics are parked, but the graphics should be designed to be viewed at 65 MPH. Remember, you only have seconds. So, how do you design a fleet graphic to be seen at 65 MPH or from 100 feet away? The answer is to keep it simple.

In our blog, Vehicle Graphic Design Hierarchy, we talked about the placement of design elements by importance based on how the human eye takes in visual content. Vehicle graphic design hierarchy is unlike any other design hierarchy in that most design isn’t moving down the highway at 65 MPH, at least we hope it isn’t. Before setting a vehicle graphic design hierarchy in order, an organization must consider what messages take precedence. What is the hierarchy of your messages? What do you want to communicate and what do you want people to understand about your business?”

If you want to beat the fleet graphics 5-second rule then start by designing fleet graphics that capture the viewer’s attention, creates emotion, and shares a clear call to action in seconds. You’ll be turning heads fast!

In fleet graphic design, less is almost always more. The design should stay on message and not distract from its mission to capture consumers’ attention, share the main message, and achieve all this in 5-seconds or less.

Too many words, images, and colors become a distraction. Fleet graphic design is a discipline where the saying, KISS (keep it simple stupid), should be applied. Today’s digital printers make it possible to print almost anything on adhesive vinyl graphics. However, because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be.

There are several factors that help vehicle graphics stand out and reasons why vehicle graphics have some advantages over other advertising mediums. 3M™ shared these statistics about vehicle graphics,

  1. Research shows that vehicle advertising stands apart from other forms of media because of its size, location, and continued presence.⁽⁶⁾
  2. Brightly colored vehicle wraps with big logos and messages are disruptive and can’t be ignored by commuters. In fact, in one survey, 64% of respondents said they noticed vehicle graphics.⁽⁷⁾
  3. Another study revealed that vehicle advertising generates 30,000-70,000 daily vehicular impressions.⁽⁸⁾ If we just consider the lower end of these results that would translate into millions of impressions per year.
  4. Unlike other marketing mediums, vehicle graphics aren’t subject to ad blockers, commercial-free streaming or other barriers that prevent brands from communicating with potential customers.”

A successful fleet graphic appeals to the target audience.
It solves a problem, captures interest, or tells a story.

Let’s defeat the fleet graphics 5-second rule together, call TKO Graphix at 888-544-8051 or Contact Us online. We’ll be happy to give you more than five seconds!

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TKO Graphix is a national fleet and vehicle graphics company helping customers since 1985. We provide full-service graphic design, digital printing, screen printing, graphics installation, and removal of large format graphics.

6,8 “Measuring the Value of Vehicle Wraps” by ARD Ventures, 2003
7 Nielsen Out-of-Home Advertising Study, 2019