Pixel Wraps
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Vehicle Wrap Mistakes To Avoid in Designing & Installation

In this do-it-yourself world, there are a million ways for first-timers to make a costly mistake. As with many new technologies described as “easy” or “user friendly”, using truck wraps as a communication medium is more complicated than it seems. In this blog, we will break down the most common errors that can turn your car, truck, or van into an eyesore.

How to get your Vehicle Wraps Designed and Installed Perfectly?

This list will be presented in two sections. The first five will deal with mistakes having to do with the content, images, and overall graphic design of your wrap. The last five will discuss printing and installation mistakes concerning the wrap itself.

Part I – Design Mistakes to Avoid in Vehicle Wraps

1. Too Much Text

The point of a fleet truck wrap is to create a mobile billboard that effortlessly spreads your brand name as you drive or park at different locations. This means your audience will usually be viewing your graphic in the few seconds it takes to pause at a stop sign or glance at a moving vehicle going by. For this reason, brevity is extremely important when it comes to your text.

Communicating your message in as few words as possible is the key to designing an effective car, van or truck wrap. Driving a cluttered jumble of words around town doesn’t just look bad. It’s usually not even readable.

You will want to limit your text to only the most crucial information:

  • Your business name
  • A tag line or slogan (and possibly a call to action, such as “60% off your first purchase”)
  • A list of products or services, preferably in bullet points
  • Your website and email address
  • Your service area
  • Your phone number

2. Making the Text the Wrong Size

This one goes hand in hand with using just the right amount of text. The most likely scenario would be a wrap that is excessively wordy and therefore features text that is too small. However, it is possible for your text to be too large as well. It just depends on which text.

Obviously, your logo can be as large as you want it within reason. When it comes to certain wrap styles and among less formal industries (for example, an energy drink or streetwear brand) the sky is basically the limit. When it comes to your secondary and tertiary information —such as your brand name, list of services, coverage area, etc. — these details should follow a hierarchy of size relative to their importance.

Making every bit of text the same size can be confusing and overwhelm the viewer.

  • Make your business’s name the largest
  • Your tagline, catchphrase, call to action, and products should be somewhat smaller
  • Your contact information and service locations should be smallest but still legible from the distance of saying a car length

3. Illegible Font

As we stated earlier, the first rule to printing effective ad copy is to make sure people can read it. That’s why in most cases you’ll want to avoid cursive fonts made to look like scriptwriting. In the past professional printers and lettering, experts went so far as to suggest only using sans serif fonts, meaning letters without small lines projecting off the ends.

While many would still say a sans serif text is generally easier to read in large amounts, a small but growing group of lettering aficionados are promoting serif fonts for their attractiveness. The belief that you should only use the blockiest of block lettering emerged in the early days of computers when most monitors used a low resolution. Newer, higher definition screens allow for more detail that will appear both clearer and truer to life than in the past. While it is still a good idea to avoid going overboard with an overly fancy script, some stylish embellishments can help to accent your message — especially your company logo.

4. Using the Wrong Colors

Aside from using colors that don’t match your brand and/ or marketing campaign graphics, another mistake is not making use of colors that properly contrast each other. You obviously want your logo, text and images to stand out or “pop”. That’s why you’ll want to contrast light colored graphics with a dark background or vice versa. For example, black letters over bright green or white letters over a black background are popular choices.

5. Not Designing for Your Vehicle

A curvy, modern-looking vehicle or a large tractor-trailer both need a graphic design that takes its specific dimensions into account. Obviously, a design used on your semi cab will look minuscule on your trailer — just as your small, aerodynamic sedan or sports car requires a graphic that won’t get distorted when applied to the rounded contours of its surface.

custom wrapped truck

Part II – Wrap Printing and Installation Mistakes to Avoid

6. Improper Planning and Measuring

Not measuring correctly may be the most common mistake for all DIY projects. This is the reason many kits for home assembly such as bird houses and benches will include pre-measured and prefabricated pieces. Planning out your wrap from scratch means understanding how much vinyl film must be used for the printing process, as well as where to place your images and letters.

When it comes to leaving some room for error, remember that it’s always better to have slightly too much material than not enough. Therefore, you’ll always want to center — or alternatively, use the rule of thirds — on your graphics as much as possible and always avoid important text along the edges. This will help you to prevent having your phone number or website wind up on the cutting room floor.

7. Overstretching the Wrap

While vinyl film does have some give, it can be stretched to the point of distorting the graphic or even being damaged. Another problem is stretching out the heated glue that bonds your wrap the surface underneath, otherwise known as the substrate. By spreading the adhesive too thin, your wrap will be prone to bubble, peel, curl away from the substrate or even rip.

8. Improper Heating

The glue that adheres your graphic to your vehicle is gently warmed to the proper temperature, often using a heat gun. Much as with baking, it is difficult to give a precise temperature for wrap installation due to the many other environmental factors involved. These include the type of vehicle, its finish, as well as the temperature and humidity of the installation space itself.

A smart wrap installer will monitor how the wrap is sticking to the vehicle rather than worry about what temperature the heat gun is. For first timers, we recommend using a hair dryer instead and starting at a low setting.

9. Cutting Before Installing

With wrap installation, you never want to get ahead of yourself. That’s why you should wait until your graphic has been installed onto the vehicle before cutting it to size and trimming around the edges. While it is possible to cut prior to installation, it is not recommended for best results. Remember it’s always better to have slightly too much material than not enough. And you can only know for sure that you have enough once the wrap has been placed onto the car or truck.

full vehicle wrap installation

10. Not Using A Professional Wrap Installer

If you’re looking to experiment with printing and installing your own vehicle wraps, then go ahead and DIY. But if you need a reliably attractive wrap for your work vehicle without all the headaches, then you will want to use a professional wrap company — preferably an experienced designer-printer-installer such as Pixel Wraps. By keeping the entire process in-house, we can ensure the highest quality control every step of the way.

For more tips on how to create the right car, truck or van wrap for your business, feel free to contact the Pixel Wraps team anytime.

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