Vehicle liveries can prove a cost-effective way to advertise a business but there are “golden rules” to observe in ensuring fleet graphics are a marketing winner.
Although industry research suggests more than 3,000 people per hour see a liveried vehicle operating in a busy area, Tobin Jenkins, managing director of family-owned vehicle graphics and wrapping specialist Sign Language, warns that a poor livery can prove to be a marketing nightmare and damage a company’s credibility in the eyes of customers and potential clients.
‘Striking imagery means colourful creative artwork and photos, but the result should not be a cluttered vehicle wrap that is difficult to read,’ explained Jenkins, whose Oxfordshire-based business works with a host of clients including Lex Autolease.
‘Equally, costs need to be very carefully analysed. Not just the initial cost, but repair costs if a vehicle carrying a wrapping or livery is involved in a crash and removal costs at defleet time.’
The golden rules to make fleet vehicle graphics stand out:
- Ensure text is clear and easy to read; lots of small text can be difficult to read, particularly when a vehicle is on the move.
- Limit the number of “contact points” contained within the graphic. Remember that most people will be on the move also, so an easy to remember response number or address is paramount.
- The rear of a vehicle is the obvious place for text as information on the business can be clearly read by occupants of following vehicles.
- Don’t put too much information or clutter within the graphic; not only is it difficult to read but could prove a major distraction to other drivers
- Less is more so the text should be contained within a 15% margin from the sides of the working area, such as a vehicle’s “box” or doors.
- Avoid complicated designs that can present difficulties in matching reprints if a vehicle is damaged.
- Don’t use dark colours on dark vehicle colours. Most marketing design needs vibrant colours with vivid contrasts.
- A competitive price is important, but so is value for money. The vehicle wrapping and graphics industry is unregulated so always visit a potential supplier, analyse their work and, ideally, speak to existing customers.
- The facilities for applying graphics to a vehicle have to be correct. Sign Language is able to carry out work in its own “laboratory” fitting bays and at other locations, such as dealerships and vehicle conversion centres, but uniquely has its own mobile “air shelter” workshop enabling the company to undertake work at any location.
- Many larger vehicle-wrapping businesses are franchised so it is harder to guarantee a consistently high standard of work on fleet vehicles nationwide.
- Ensure that the correct vinyl is used for the job. This depends on vehicle usage, the recess depth of the panels that livery is being applied to and how long the graphics will be on the vehicle.
- If graphics are digitally printed rather than self-colour vinyl then a laminate needs to be applied to the vehicle unless it is being used for a short-term promotion.
- Consider the removal of the vinyl at the end of a vehicle’s life. Some cheaper vinyl can be up to six times harder to remove and more susceptible to damaging paintwork therefore costs will be higher to restore the vehicle to a saleable condition.