My original title for this post wasn’t “The Top 10 Fleet Graphics Mistakes”. It was, “What Makes Vehicle Graphics Look Bad and How Can I Avoid Mistakes so My Car Doesn’t look Like a Piece of Crap!” It may have been a little too long for a title.

Whether you want branded logos on work trucks or full wraps on a fleet of vehicles, you want it to look great. And one way to achieve this is to learn from the mistakes of others. Do not make these 10 common fleet graphics mistakes. 

The Top 10 Fleet Graphics Mistakes

10. Poor font choice

Text should be easy to read. If you describe the typeface you’re using as elegant, stylistic, or pretty, you’re probably making a mistake. And it does no good if its not large enough to read. “Any combination of font style, size, and color can and will affect the readability of vehicle graphics. The key to effective fleet graphic design is combining appearance with legibility. There are too many designs, which although visually striking, are difficult to decipher, which detracts from the purpose of vehicle advertising.” — What’s the Best Font for Vehicle Graphics?

9. Non-contrasting colors

Characters and images need to contrast with the background. That doesn’t mean they all have to be black on white. Tones can be light gray against dark gray, yellow on red, or blue on orange. The key is contrast. “The best color contrast for your vehicle graphics involves several factors. Choosing the best and most contrasting colors for your fleet graphics can make the difference between getting noticed and being just one more vehicle wrap. Taking into consideration such points as branding, contrast, and LR (light reflectance) can make all the difference.” — FAQ: What’s the Best Color Contrast for a Vehicle Wrap?

How important is color overall in marketing? According to Psychology Today , “In an appropriately titled study called the Impact of color in Marketing, researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone (depending on the product) …  Color is ubiquitous and is a source of information. People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone.”

8. The design’s too busy

With digital print, it’s easy to overdo it. You see it all the time, an eye-catching, interesting, multi-color, chaotic wrap, in which the branding and call to action are lost. Don’t make the mistake of your design missing the point. “The point should be to get the word out about what you do, who you are, share contact information, and then rally a call to action. If you put too much information — you lose the point. Too little information and it becomes identification not advertising. Here are a couple examples of wraps that work. Epperson Painting   Green B.E.A.N. Delivery ” — Why Your Fleet Graphics Suck

7. No call to action

Of course this is fine if it’s a personal ride, but inexcusable for a company vehicle. Does your wrap share how to contact you and why a consumer should? How do you create an effective call to action? “Tell people what you want them to do. Spell it out with actions. “Call us, Visit our Website, or Come to our Location” or “Sign up, Walk in, Follow us!” Because a call without an action isn’t effective.” — How to Create an Effective Vehicle Graphic CTA (Call to Action)

“Is there a visible CTA (call to action)? Is all contact information accessible and easy to read, including street address, phone number, and website URL?  Did you share you’re USP (Unique Sales Position) such as, “24 Hour Service” or We’re Always on time, or it’s FREE”?” — Is it Time to Replace Your Vehicle Graphics?

6. Poorly adapting a 2-D image to a 3-D vehicle

Just because a design looks great on a computer screen doesn’t mean it will fit the angles and curves of a vehicle. “A few years ago a major food product considered sponsoring a 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

5. Your Stuff is Too small

Size matters, whether it’s copy, images, or a logo — if it’s too small to read at 55 MPH, it’s too small. “It’s generally accepted that stationary signs can be seen, when unhindered, from set distances. For example, ADAAG Guidelines state that 3-inch letters may be seen up to 25 feet away and 6-inch letters 35 feet or more. But what happens if the “sign” is moving at 40 MPH on the side of a fleet vehicle? The USSC (United States Sign Council) uses a formula to determine the optimum signage square footage required for a sign to be seen by moving cars. VRT (viewer reaction time) + MPH/800 = recommended square footage for a stationary sign. This will vary by road complexity. But what if the buying public and the sign are both moving? It’s complicated, but here are a few keys to consider.” — What’s the Best Font Size for Vehicle Graphics?

4. Using clip art

Come on man, this is not school project. Opting for low quality, non-descript, or overused images is a mistake that’s difficult to overcome regardless of how well designed the graphics are.

3. Too much copy

Get to the point, tell them who you are, what you do, why and how to contact you. If you say too much, you’ll lose the message. There are too many distractions, including other pieces of advertising, competing for peoples attention. At best, your fleet graphics only have seconds to capture a prospects interest.

“Whether a consumer is driving, or walking in a business district, there are thousands of messages fighting for their attention — signs, billboards, and fleet graphics come at people in droves. It’s impossible to take them all in, and even the best only receive seconds of anyone’s attention.” — The Fleet Graphics 5 Second Rule

2. Letting your sister-in-law’s cousin’s daughter design it

Nor is it a project for your brother-in-laws niece who’s taking her second course on graphic design at the local university. I guess it could come out okay. At least she’ll have a chance to learn from her mistakes. Hire a professional designer.

And the Number One mistake is

Drum roll please, not using adhesive vinyl vehicle graphics at all. “People can always find reasons to avoid taking action, to delay making a decision. There is almost no good reason not to advertise on organizational vehicles. Maybe if the vehicle is temporary or being replaced — just maybe, or if a company has no marketing budget. If a business does have a marketing budget vehicle graphics are one of the most cost effective methods of adverting. According to OAAA (Outdoor Advertising Association of America) Vehicle graphics cost .77 per CPM (One Thousand Impressions) much less than TV, radio, or print.  So, what’s your excuse?” — No Excuse NOT to Advertise on Your Vehicles

Are You Making Any of these Mistakes?

Are you making these fleet graphics mistakes? Whether it’s your business car, van, truck, or a fleet of tractor-trailers, you should consider adhesive vinyl graphics. A commercial vehicle, with little or no graphics, is a lost opportunity to reach potential customers. When you don’t advertise on your vehicles, you’re throwing business out the window. If you’d like to learn more about avoiding vehicle graphics pitfalls — give us a call at 1-888-544-8051 or Contact Us.