The 3 Second Rule: How to Design a Memorable Wrap
Like most ads, car wraps are viewed very briefly. In this post, we discuss how to create the most memorable and effective wraps. Your vehicle will be seen by thousands of potential customers every day, so the quality of design is crucial. Your car wrap is usually seen for about 3 seconds.
Your logo should be visible and recognizable at a glance.
The most effective logos are simple and iconic -- think of the Nike swoosh, for instance. For a small to medium sized local company, the best logos include the name of the business and communicate the primary type of business your company does.
The example logos pictured above are simple, clear, and quickly communicate the main lines of business. On a wrap, these logos are readily seen and recognized.
Your vehicle wrap should be eye-catching!
Eye catching designs take many forms such as:
Unique or unusual colors and color combinations (example)
Striping that accentuates the natural beauty of the vehicle (example)
Objectively beautiful designs or design work (example)
Simplicity with powerful contrasts (example)
Interesting pattern or textures (example)
Pictographic elements (but rarely pictures) (example)
The design should tie in with your logo and your line of business. For example, it should share colors and fonts from your logo, and it should reflect your key business activities at a glance.
Avoid being too busy with words.
Too many words turn into noise which confuses the viewer and obstructs brand recognition. Most often, vehicle graphics are seen at a distance and speed that makes thorough reading impossible or dangerous.
There are some exceptions to this rule, such as vehicles which spend significant time stationary-- such as food trucks, or some contractor trailers. These may have areas with more text as long as it doesn't distract from the overall beauty.
Avoid being busy with pictures.
A good picture is simple, bright, and easy to understand. The available space must be very large for a picture to be good for communication. Frequently, people will want to put a picture example of their work on their wrap. Due to space constraints this often doesn't work-- either the picture will be indecipherable or it will obstruct important elements such as a logo or contact information. Pictures work best on box trucks, high ceiling vans, or on your website.
When you follow the 3 second rule, vehicle graphics are one of the most effective ad spaces available. The average wrap is seen 30,000 to 70,000 times per day. The average vehicle driving 15,000 miles per year generates 9 million impressions annually. Vehicle wraps have a 97% recall rate when tested for customer impact. Your vehicle or fleet of wrapped vehicles can have a a huge positive impact on your business.