Vehicle wrapping can be a cost-effective way to deliver many impressions. But to make them count, follow these guidelines

Any time you or your people are behind the wheel, your vehicle offers an excellent opportunity to build and reinforce your brand. Vinyl graphics, which were first introduced in the early 1990s, can be fitted to the vehicle, creating bold, striking displays that both grab readers’ attention and capture massive numbers of impressions.

In fact, your vehicle or vehicle fleet is one of your best chances to make a great and lasting impression. Research by Cox Communications/Eagle Research revealed that nearly half of people polled found vehicle wraps to be the most unique form of advertising, with many having positive associations with the format. At least one report estimates that vehicle advertising generates between 30,000 and 70,000 daily vehicular impressions.

But there’s an art to making vehicle wrapping really effective, says Brian Quarles, creative director of Chicago, Illinois-based rEvolution, a sports marketing agency with vast experience using vehicle wraps in branding campaigns. To use your vehicle to bolster your brand, follow these five guidelines.

1. Start with the brand

Your brand has to be the guiding factor in the campaign, Quarles says. If you begin using vehicle wrapping without a connection to what your company is or the principles people associate with your brand, you could be spending money in counterproductive ways. “We have a discovery phase where we sit down and learn what the brand is trying to accomplish. If there’s already creative in place, how do we deliver that creative in an experience so it’s most effective?” he says.

2. Consider your “canvas”

Obviously, every vehicle has different specs, and you’ll need to tailor your design to work best on the particular vehicle you’re wrapping. It’s important to design with the open spaces and vehicle windows in mind. For example, a large van or sport utility vehicle (SUV) will have more space for graphics than a smaller car, but may also have more windows that need to be kept clear for driver visibility. In addition, familiarize yourself with the laws of the states in which the vehicles will be driving. Some states have laws about window tinting and transparency.

3. Keep it simple

Quarles says that one of the biggest challenges of designing vehicle wraps is editing the message and graphics so that the images and call-to-action are effective on a moving vehicle. That requires simplicity. While some designers try to show off “their graphic design chops,” trying to include too many images and too much text just makes the vehicle ineffective, since people can’t read it at 50- or 60-miles-per-hour. Instead, focus on one key concept or message you want to get across and design to deliver that, he says.

4. Make safety the priority

Today’s innovation in vinyl wraps has led to transparent materials that can be used over rear windshields and back-seat windows.

5. Keep contact info clear

Your wrap should always have clear contact information, usually on more than one side of the car. This may include a website with a specialized landing page or dedicated 800-number, which will help you track reach. You may also choose to include your social media contact information so customers may engage with you, he says.

Explore simple, effective ways to build your brand and business with graphics.

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