Our front line staff – sales consultants, CSR’s, and designers work directly with our customers every day. With that in mind, we asked our experts their most frequently asked questions. We received enough response to begin a series we believe will be valuable to anyone researching vehicle graphics. Our question today is who should design your vehicle wrap? Should you DIY the design, hire an ad agency, or work with a vehicle graphics design team? 

Last year, TKO Graphix wrapped or decaled nearly 60,000 vehicles. We didn’t design all of those wraps. Some of the designs submitted to us were outstanding examples of the best in vehicle graphic layout, and some were … not so great. Vehicle graphics not only should be eye-catching, but must deliver the message. Designs that are too busy, distracting, or poorly considered may detract from the message. And a bad design can send a bad message about the organization they represent. What message do you want to share with customers, prospects, and employees?

So, who should design your vehicle graphics?

That’s a good question — who should design your vehicle graphics? It’s not your cousins niece who is in her second year of school studying graphic design. Your best bet is to hire a  professional designer with experience in translating design concepts to a three-dimensional application; a design may look perfect on a two-dimensional screen, but must conform to three-dimensions. It must work on your vehicle not only on a piece of flat paper

Should you do it yourself?

So, should you design the graphics yourself? Unless you’re trained in 3-D graphic design, probably not. “The best practice is to hire an experienced vehicle graphics designer. Most reputable vehicle graphics providers, including us, offer design. I recall a race car design fail. We told them it wouldn’t work but they were unconvinced. The design was submitted by an advertising agency, they were experienced designers and they were good at it. However, they weren’t experienced in vehicle graphic design. There’s a big difference. We printed a mock up of the design to show them why it wouldn’t work. The design was primarily an image of their product. On a two-dimensional screen it looked perfect. However, when the design was applied to the car around curves and angles you couldn’t tell what it was. If you’re considering a car or truck wrap design—hire a pro.” — 5 Keys to Vehicle Graphic Design

“Make the wrap fit the vehicle not the vehicle fit the wrap. What type of vehicle is it? What’s its function and purpose? For example, a small economy car can be fun with a “cute” design, but cute on a 53’ trailer may present a challenge. Conversely, attempting to wrap a small car to present a strong image may be difficult. Before beginning a vehicle wrap design, take a good hard look at the vehicle and ask yourself what image fits the car or truck and its job?” — 3 Extraordinary Steps to Vehicle Graphic Design

What Are the Most Common Mistakes in Vehicle Graphic Design? 

That’s a great question, you’ve probably seen most the mistakes listed below.  Here are the 7 Deadly Fleet Graphics Design Sins:

  • Too many words. Too much information is distracting. Vehicle graphics only have seconds to capture prospects attention. “Sometimes vehicles with fleet graphics are parked, but the wrap should be designed to be viewed at 65 MPH. You have seconds, only seconds.” — The Fleet Graphics 5 Second Rule.
  • Poor quality images. Low quality or non-vector images become pixelated, for example; when the image of your company’s founder is enlarged it becomes a blob of swirling color. “Vector graphics uses geometric shapes such as points or lines as the mathematical expression of the design. The shapes are assigned an exact position on the plane of the graphic where aspects such as color, shape, and thickness can be added. In this way, the size of the graphic can be increased without diminishing clarity or other qualities of the image.” — TKO Tech Talk: Vector Graphics
  • Too busy. When too many images, shapes, and colors are placed on one vehicle, it’s easy to lose the message in the confusion. And not only too many, but poor color contrast as well can ruin a vehicle graphic.
  • No unified branding. Your fleet vehicles should complement your overall brand. Branded colors, fonts, logos, and taglines should be the same across medias including fleet graphics.
  • Hard to read fonts. Some fonts, such as italics, might be attractive, but if they’re difficult to understand the message is lost.
  • Grammar mistakes. Using your for you’re doesn’t make you look like your … I mean you’re … on top of your game.
  • Wrong vehicle specifications. Designing a vehicle graphic for a short bed pick up truck, and then attempting to apply it to a long bed doesn’t work. — Should You Design Your Fleet Graphics?

 3 Design Options:

Your design options aren’t only do it yourself or hire a designer. For example, you could take your concept and work directly with a design team to bring your ideas to life. You could hire a design agency outside of the printer, but be sure they have vehicle graphic design experience. Or you could retain a full service graphic provider such as TKO Graphics that offers design, print, and installation.

50 years of experience

The TKO Graphics designers are professionals with more than 50 years of combined experience. They make a demanding job look easy. Our designers can format your design, create graphics from scratch to fit your needs, or turn your idea into an attention-grabbing graphic. At TKO, we’re happy to work with your design, work with your agency, or create designs to your satisfaction.

If you’d like to learn more about design submission please see our Artwork Guidelines.

We’d be happy to cover any questions you may have contact us.