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Dan Antonelli

Truck Wraps: How to Make Them Count

When you’re out driving around, do you ever ask yourself: Why is the concept of designing a simple, easy-to-read message on a truck wrap so difficult to understand? Maybe it’s just us asking that question. Either way, it’s unfortunate that most companies with service vehicles try to cram as much information on their vehicle wrap designs as possible. Truck wraps are not cheap. But, when done correctly, they can generate substantial leads for service businesses. When done incorrectly, they represent a missed opportunity, wasted money and a poor return on investment.

1. Start With a Great Brand.

Many HVAC truck wrap designs fail from a marketing perspective because, right from the start, the company has a poor brand identity and logo. The brand should always be the primary message for a vehicle wrap, unless you have national brand recognition. By starting with a poor brand, the design will fail before it even hits the streets.

Carefully examine your current brand and ask yourself if it represents who you are as a company. More importantly, find out what impression it leaves on your customers. If it’s dated, illegible from a distance, uses clip art or is just simply not memorable or unique, it may be time for a change. You want to stand out among the sea of other HVAC contractors with bland snowflakes and flames in their logos.

2. Don’t Use Photographs.

If you’re using photos on your truck wrap, you’re doing yourself and your company a disservice. Sure, there may be a few effective wrap designs that use photography. But any wrap that uses a photo could have been more effectively done without one, provided the company had a good brand to start (see #1).

A photo is not a brand identity; it doesn’t directly connect with the business name. It may connect with what the company does, but, if it doesn’t connect the consumer with who the company is, what good is it? Most wraps that utilize photos come at the expense of the work of reinforcing the brand down the road.

3. Limit Your Advertising Copy & Don’t Use Bullet Points.

Sure, your service truck may look like a big canvas. This doesn’t mean the design should be filled with a grocery list of every service under the sun.

This may shock some business owners, but there are only a few things a good wrap design needs:

Bullet points, which definitely belong on shopping lists, have no place on a service vehicle (or really any vehicle). This isn’t the yellow pages! Would you rather list 10 things and have a customer not remember any of them? Or convey one or two memorable takeaways?

If the truck was a billboard, how much copy would be on it? Billboards have the exact same challenges as vehicle advertising. If you prioritize your copy, the vehicle’s design will be more effective.

4. Design to Stand Out, Not Fit In.

This isn’t the part where we say diamond plate, carbon fiber or tribal flames will make your HVAC truck wrap stand out. Or, a picture of the owner and his family flanking a condensing unit. Quite the contrary!

By eliminating all those fills, noisy backgrounds, photos, bevels and glows, you’ll be well on your way to designing a wrap that truly stands out. The wrap market is littered with visual noise. When a consumer sees something with impact—something that they can actually read and remember—it stands out among the visual clutter. Start with the basics. If you need to keep adding things to the design to make it “better,” it probably was not good to start.

5. Simple and Obvious is Good.

If the viewer needs to work too hard to figure out the primary brand messaging, it’s an opportunity lost. A truck wrap design isn’t the same as print design where a viewer can stop, absorb the advertising and try to understand the message. Consider the one, primary takeaway you’re hoping to leave with the viewer. What is it? And does the service vehicle wrap design effectively communicate it? Or is it lost in the imagery? Distance legibility is, of course, a primary concern with vehicle advertising. You have very limited time to capture the viewer’s attention and have your brand and message be understood and remembered.


If your small business is struggling to stand out, it’s time to pump the brakes on your worries. At KickCharge Creative, our team can help you accelerate your brand awareness with a custom-designed vehicle wrap. Get in touch with us today to see how you can take advantage of your moving billboard.

The contents in this article originally appeared on ContractingBusiness.com, a website that provides tips and information to its audience of HVAC managers so they can better run their businesses and be successful.

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