“We all know that truck lettering is the most bang for a client’s advertising buck,” says Braun Bleamer, Jet Signs, Palmerton, PA [www.jetsigns.net]. It’s true—the right graphics can turn a vehicle into a rolling billboard for less than the cost of a candy bar each day. (See How to show the true cost of a sign to a client to see Larry Elliott’s great chart on this.)
After Braun's great-looking signs and vehicles ran in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of SignCraft, we asked him for some details on his approach to truck lettering. It turns out his recipe for effective vehicle graphics is straightforward and built on a proven approach that's behind many successful sign designs:
Keep the layout clean. Clean, simple layouts work best for the client. They work best for you, too, keeping production time down.
Cut down clutter. To keep a layout clean and legible, you have to limit the amount of extra copy on the vehicle. A bulleted list of 10 services may sound good to the client, until you show them how it hampers readability.
Use strong contrasts. Put both letter weight and color to work to make the important message strong. Let the secondary copy be very obviously second. Don't let everything compete for the reader's attention at once.
Use the entire vehicle. When possible, spread the graphics out to make the whole vehicle the message, and to further emphasize the primary message. Squeezing it all on the truck door can make the reader's job harder.
When you think of it, most of the vehicle graphics you see fail on some or all of these points. Consider the pickup truck where the name, services, phone and website are all packed on the 15-by-30-in. door space, with little variety in size or letter weight—and maybe with a graphic, line or border thrown in.
Putting these four points to work in your designs will deliver designs that stand out in the sea of mediocre vehicle lettering out there. Readers notice that, and that results in clients who seek you out for high-impact, high-appeal vehicle lettering.
Braun explains his approach in-depth in the July/August 2012 issue of SignCraft, where you'll see even more idea-packed photos of his truck and van designs. Don’t miss it!