IT’S A WRAP: KEY CONSIDERATIONS WHEN ADDING SIGNAGE TO YOUR TRUCK
Mid last year Samsung trialled their ‘Safety Truck,’ on Argentinian roads – some of the world’s most dangerous.
The trial involved a wireless camera attached to the front of the truck, which films the oncoming traffic, and then sends the image to a video wall made out of four exterior monitors located on the back of the truck.
It’s a fairly simple premise designed to increase safety and promote tech giants Samsung, but the stunt prompted plenty of debate with valid questions being raised about just how ‘safe’ a mobile LED screen is, especially in busy traffic and at night.
Stunt or not, the Samsung campaign also sparked plenty of discussion in the advertising world about LED screen use on the sides of trucks, replacing wrapped or painted livery.
For the moment, LED advertising on the sides of trucks is a ways off in Australia, so in this blog we’ve taken an in-depth look at traditional truck livery – with all you need to know about dressing up your truck fleet and selling your business.
It’s an approach that works well for some businesses, but can work against others. Either way, wrapping your vehicles is akin to having multiple mobile billboards crisscrossing your area of operation, but at a fraction of the cost.
To get the job done, you have two options. You can find a professional outfit to design, print and install the wrapping or livery to your fleet. Alternatively, you can go it alone and do some decorating yourself.
Go with the pros
As is the case with just about anything else, you get what you pay for. If you’ve got the cash, you’d be wise to have your wrapping or paint work designed from scratch and installed by specialist truck wrappers/painters.
Check online for qualified professionals (with in-house designers) in your area, or canvass other businesses in your field for their tried and trusted contacts.
Bear in mind that while printers and sign shops may claim to offer the same service at a cheaper price, the application of professional graphic design or artwork to vehicles is not their core business and you may not end up with the result you’re after.
Think long and hard about the sort of service/product you provide to your customers. Think also about the associations or image you’d like to portray publicly and, of course, develop an in-depth awareness of what your competitors are doing on the design front. The last thing you want is to be mistaken for your competitor.
Getting your head around these cornerstone elements is the key to an effective, attractive, lasting and – above all – successful truck wrap design. If you can’t effectively communicate who you are and what you do both verbally and visually, potential customers will probably struggle to identify with your brand.
Make sure you’re not infringing on Australian copyright or intellectual property laws when determining your design and signage. To find out more about what is and isn’t protected under Copyright Law, take a look at this really handy introductory fact sheet from the Australian Copyright Council.
While a qualified graphic designer will be across it, here are some key points to consider…
- Consider using a copyright notice to build some protections around your own concepts. This can act as a deterrent to potential infringers co-opting design work you’ve paid for.
- Develop original design work. Whether it’s your own design, or one produced by a designer, it’s always the best way to avoid any possible copyright infringements.
- Don’t be tempted to use a well known character like Superman or Bugs Bunny. (It might sound lame but small businesses do it all the time!) It’s stealing, and the fines can be crippling.
- If you’ve found an existing image or artwork/design you’d like to use, it may not be as difficult to get legal permission to use a logo on your graphics as you might think. Find out if you need permission or not.
- Use stock images. Royalty free stock images or illustrations are available for purchase online. There’s a huge range of website providing this service. A couple of the major stock sites include www.istockhoto.com, www.shutterstock.com and Adobe’s https://au.fotolia.com.
It seems to be the recurring theme of this blog, but don’t skimp on quality to save a few bucks, especially when it comes to materials used in your wrapping/livery job.
If you do, the result will be a sad-looking, fading graphic that can only reflect badly on your business and brand. For optimum durability and performance, make sure you consult professionals to identify exactly what materials your vehicles require based on their operating environment and use.
According to the experts a good quality wrap that is well looked after can last anywhere between five and seven years. It’s important to look at a wrap as a one-off expense that has lasting benefits.
Quality is super important though. Australia’s weather and road conditions are ridiculously harsh, so if the materials used aren’t up to scratch, the job won’t last long. Research the wrap company, the warranty they offer, and the materials they use, to ensure you’re not going to have a faded wrap in a few years’ time.
Paint versus wrap
You might be wondering if you should wrap or paint, so here are some points to consider…
Cost: A high quality paint job can be costly depending on what you’re having done and the size of the job. In some cases you’d be looking at tens of thousands of dollars and up to two weeks off the road. Wrapping is far cheaper by comparison with a life expectancy of 5-8 years.
Resale: Vehicle wraps help protect the vehicle’s original paint work and can easily be removed without harming the finish. If you’ve painted your fleet vehicles, either you or the buyer (dealership or end-user) is going to have sand down and repaint the vehicle in order to sell or use it for their own business.
Updating: Vehicle wraps are easy to refresh. If your company’s name, address, phone number, website, or products change, it is much easier and less expensive to modify or update a vehicle wrap. If your information is painted on the vehicle, it could mean an entire paint job to change just a a small detail.
Flexibility and freedom: You have more creative license with vinyl graphic wraps for a couple of different reasons. Most wraps are created digitally and you can see the design before it’s on the vehicle so you can make any changes. Graphics can also go on vehicle windows without reducing visibility. Designs can cover the entire vehicle too, giving you more space and flexibility for your advertising message.
Some of the larger visual communications and commercial graphics houses provide ongoing livery management. Yes, that’s actually a thing.
It’s not a bad idea either, especially if you have a reasonable-sized fleet operating in harsh conditions for long hours.
Services like these look after accident repair, general wear-and-tear repair and cracking, tearing and fading – all under warranty.