auto wrappingA good auto wrap is powerful advertising for your business. It draws the “right” kind of attention, turning heads and making people want to know more about your product. A bad auto wrap is even easier to spot, because as you drive by, you’ll see people making disgusted or embarrassed faces. The differences between good and bad auto wraps are subtle, and many people can’t tell you specifically what the differences are. They just shrug and say “I know what I like, and that’s not it.” Let’s take a look at six powerful indicators that you might be wasting your advertising dollars and driving your customers away with a bad auto wrap!



1) Aesthetics

A good auto wrap has clean, clear lines and a well-emphasized message. A bad auto wrap looks cluttered, jumbled, or “busy.” With a bad auto wrap, deciphering your message from everything else that’s going on in the wrap may be too much work for many customers. The American public has a notoriously short attention span, and on the street, you’ve got about two seconds to make a positive impression and get them wanting more information. If a prospective customer has to take longer than two seconds to figure out what your message is, odds are you’ve already lost them, and their business.

2) Color

Color is everything. If you’ve got a bright red vehicle, putting a dark blue wrap on is a huge mistake. Not only will it muddy both colors, but contrasting hues, tones, and tints subconsciously make people nervous or agitated. The color scheme you select for your wrap will make a huge difference in whether your phone starts ringing or stays silent. In an ideal situation, you want your wrap to have complementary, not opposite, colors. On a blue truck, this would mean green or purple. On a red car, orange and yellow are wise choices. This helps draw the right kind of attention, rather than jokes like “I didn’t know Ray Charles made car wraps!”

3) Clarity

We touched on this before, but it deserves more consideration as a stand-alone concept. Your wrap should be designed in such a way that the critical information you want to impart to the viewer “pops” right off the vehicle. If you stand by the vehicle and you can’t be sure what the focal point ought to be, the phone number or web address fades into the design, or the company logo is obscured by pictures, text, or both, then you need to rethink your design. Sharp, crisply printed, professional-looking wraps are designed to grab attention and hold it, but the information on the wrap is still easy to see and decipher. An unclear wrap says that your business is amateurish and unprofessional, and that’s not the appearance you want to give to a prospective customer.

4) “Cuteness”

We’ve all seen an auto wrap where someone was trying to be clever, cute, or funny. Unless you’re promoting a comedian on the Las Vegas Strip or your business tag line is designed to be intentionally funny, you should probably avoid humor in your wrap. One notable exception is the motto for a plumber actually seen in Las Vegas: “A flush beats a full house.” This pun works on several levels, particularly in Sin City, and is a great motto because it’s humorous and memorable. However, if your business motto isn’t intentionally slanted toward clever punning, you would be well advised not to attempt this with your own advertising.

5) Trying Too Hard

A boring wrap can be just as bad as a busy one. Too little information or “tombstone” advertising can be even worse than too much. A plain black and white wrap makes your vehicle look like it’s covered in newsprint, and this is sure to prompt snickers and quips on the street. “Is that a car or did someone need to wrap up a fish?” Having made their little bon mots, your prospective customers move along, having assimilated none of the information you were trying to impart. While your wrap shouldn’t have such a hectic design as to be illegible, it should have enough impact to get the customer’s attention and keep it. That way, even if they don’t remember the exact text, something on the wrap will stick with them enough to help your customers locate you through the phone book or online when they need the services your business provides.

6) Do It Yourself

When it comes to DIY auto wrap design, the best advice is “don’t.” Some tasks just don’t lend themselves to amateur effort, and auto wrapping is definitely one of them. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If you’ve got a master’s degree in graphic design, you probably have enough know-how to make an aesthetically pleasing auto wrap from scratch and get it to say and do what you want it to. A poorly conceived, sloppily designed wrap will draw all the wrong kinds of attention, because your customers will subconsciously associate poor performance with your business, product, or service. If you don’t have the chops to design your own wrap from scratch, this is one time you should really leave it to the professionals. Engage the services of an experienced graphic designer, so you can be sure your wrap sends the right signals to your prospective customers. Graphic design really isn’t that expensive, especially when you consider the amount of money you stand to lose by doing it improperly.

No matter what kind of business you have, an auto wrap can be excellent advertising for it. A good design will attract good attention and business, while a poor design only results in wasted time, effort, and money. Some people try to save on the cost by throwing a bunch of concepts together and hoping they all work. When promoting your business, image is everything. Make sure, especially if you’re taking your image “to the streets,” that the wrap you choose makes the impression you want it to.