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Brand Better With Trailer Wraps: 5 Design Tweaks That Pay Dividends

Brand Better with Trailer Wraps: 5 Design Tweaks That Pay Dividends

Looking for a little help with your trailer wrap design? Are the results of your vehicle branding campaign trailing behind? You’ve come to the right place!

Reviewing research from the Journal of Advertising Research and the Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, today’s post shares 5 data-driven trailer wrap design tweaks to improve brand recognition, recall, and authority.

Read on to learn more, or call (314)-726-5500 to speak directly with a trailer wrap designer in St. Louis, MO.

Trailer Wrap Design: 5 Data-driven Tips For Better Branding In St. Louis, MO

1.    Reduce The Informational Load

In vehicle marketing, ad exposure times are very short, as drivers and pedestrians need to keep their eyes either on the road or on their surroundings for safety and wayfinding purposes.

Putting your ad in front of static audiences won’t change that; even standing still or locked in bumper-to-bumper traffic, nobody reads outdoor ads for more than a few seconds, especially with so many competing messages and digital distractions fighting for their attention.

If you want your brand message to stand out, you need to keep it short, sweet, and glanceable; as one study by the Journal of Advertising Research puts it, “short, clear copy is, in fact, a critical determinant for the success or failure of an outdoor ad” (Van Meurs & Aristoff, 2009, p. 84). In fact, several studies have found that “the amount of text correlates negatively with attention, recognition, recall, and the appeal of advertising” (p. 84).

With that in mind, try to distill your trailer wrap copy to its essence. Save the detailed product/service descriptions, company history, and ordering information for your website, indoor signs, or salespeople to share, and focus instead on grabbing attention and making quick, high-quality impressions.

2.    Go Big With Your Trailer Wrap Design

According to research by the Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, 81.5% of consumers report getting “frustrated and annoyed when signs are too small to read.” This experience is especially common in vehicle marketing contexts, where your message is moving and viewing distances are dynamic, depending entirely on traffic flow.

For best results in this unpredictable viewing context, go big! Supersizing your trailer wrap design not only increases long-range legibility, but also prevents people getting frustrated with your brand when they cannot make out your message.

3.    Use Color Psychology To Evoke Brand Values

When you need to convey meaning at a glance, color works wonders, evoking “images, ideas, and feelings” without words (Van Meurs & Aristoff, 2009).

There is plenty of research available on common color associations that you can use to level-up your brand recognition and recall. For example, it is widely known that green is associated with nature, grass, eco-friendliness, and money. This makes green a great choice for lawn care companies, as was the case for Jett Law Care in a recent trailer wrap project:

Brand Better with Trailer Wraps: 5 Design Tweaks That Pay Dividends

4.    Pick A Limited Brand Palette And Stick To It

The use of multiple colors in trailer wrap designs has been shown to increase brand recognition on the road, especially when they reinforce the brand palette, but “too many colors may create clutter that leads to consumer confusion” (Van Meurs & Aristoff, 2009, p. 86).

For best results, limit yourself to 1-2 main and 1-2 secondary colors, and make contrast one of your top criteria.

5.    Use Images Wisely

The human brain processes images about 60,000-times faster than text, but not all images speed brand recognition, according to the Journal of Advertising Research.

While photorealistic product images work great for split-second brand recognition, realistic human images can actually slow recognition times, since our brains naturally study human expressions to read social cues and detect threats, even when we see people in pictures. This subconscious process busies the brain and delays our engagement with the brand message.

Accordingly, for best results with split-second branding, steer clear of photorealistic pictures of people on your trailer wraps!

Brand Better: Book A Trailer Wrap Consultation In St. Louis, MO

To get more help with your vehicle design and find out how much it costs to go pro with the Horizon Sign Company, you can:


Bullough, J. (2017). Factors affecting sign visibility, conspicuity, and legibility: Review and annotated bibliography. Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, 1(2), 2-25.

Kellaris, J. J., & Machleit, K. A. (2016). Signage as marketing communication: A conceptual model and research propositions. Interdisciplinary Journal of Signage and Wayfinding, 1(1).

Van Meurs, L., & Aristoff, M. (2009). Split-second recognition: What makes outdoor advertising work? Journal of Advertising Research, 49(1), 82-92.

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