Tips to Ensure Legible Vehicle Lettering GraphicsOCTOBER 22, 2020| SpeedPro
If you want to add your personal touch to your vehicle or use it as an on-the-go advertisement for your company, vehicle lettering is a great option. By making your vehicle lettering clearly legible for anyone nearby, you can achieve maximum impact. Our tips can help you create clear, high-impact messages for your vehicles.
What Is Vehicle Lettering?
Vehicle lettering is a type of custom vehicle graphics. These letters are printed on vinyl substrates with an adhesive backing. Once installed, the custom printed text has a smooth, paint-like finish on your vehicle.
Whereas vehicle wraps tend to cover large portions of a vehicle and can feature custom vehicle lettering and graphics, vehicle lettering is purely focused on text with no graphics. This makes vehicle lettering a more minimalistic option and a more affordable one. Vehicle lettering can be a very effective marketing tool when you follow our tips.
Our Tips for Readable Vehicle Lettering
Custom vehicle lettering can help you personalize your vehicle and advertise your company, but your lettering is only useful if people who see your vehicle on the go or parked can easily read the text. To achieve this goal, make sure you follow these guidelines.
1. Use Legible Fonts
With hundreds of thousands of fonts out there, choosing the right font can seem overwhelming. You can narrow your choices down significantly by prioritizing fonts that are in line with your current branding. More importantly, however, the font you use for your lettering should be easily legible.
This means you should avoid ornate fonts that are intended to look like calligraphy or script. These fonts may be interesting to look at, but they will require more time and brainpower to decipher. Instead, choose simple serif or sans-serif fonts that a person can easily read at a glance. Just make sure the font does not distract from the message.
If your logo features a more artistic font that isn’t easily readable, you may want to include your logo along with contact information or your web address in a clear, simple font just below the logo.
2. Choose Contrasting Colors
To make your vehicle lettering easily readable, you should choose your colors carefully. This will help you avoid the unfortunate scenario of your lettering blending in with the color of your vehicle. If you’re placing your lettering on the body of your vehicle, you need to choose a color that will contrast with your vehicle’s paint job.
The most popular colors for vehicles are black and white. If your vehicle is one of these colors, choosing a contrasting color is simple. Generally, black text creates high contrast with light-colored vehicles, such as white, gray or silver cars. Likewise, white text is ideal for dark-colored vehicles, such as brown, navy and black ones. Some people decide to place lettering on a window instead of the vehicle’s body. White or other light colors are a good choice for lettering on tinted windows.
If your vehicle is neither dark nor light but more of a vibrant color like red, blue, yellow or green, you may want to choose a color on the opposite side of the color wheel, known as a complementary color. For example, orange lettering is sure to pop against a blue background.
3. Follow the 10-by-1 Rule for Text Size
The size, or “pitch,” of your lettering is also critical for legibility. The governing principle here, simply put, is that the larger the text, the more visible and impactful it will be. However, not everyone has the desire or the budget to create lettering large enough to cover the whole side of their vehicle, for instance. Most people choose vehicle lettering over vehicle wraps because they have a more subtle appearance and are more affordable.
So, how large do your letters need to be in order to be legible for people driving or walking by? A rule of thumb the sign industry uses is the 10-by-1 rule. According to this guideline, letters that are 1 inch tall are readable up to 10 feet away. For each inch you add to the lettering’s height, you gain another 10 feet of readability.
A car stopped behind your vehicle at a red light or driving past in the next lane over may not be far, but if you want to gain more exposure from people walking or driving past from a greater distance, you should increase your lettering’s pitch accordingly.
4. Keep the Message Simple
Less is often more when it comes to effective advertising, but this is especially the case when you’re creating an ad someone may only see for a fleeting moment as they drive past. A similar example is a billboard on the side of the highway. For billboards, experts often recommend the message be limited to seven words. You can use this same guideline for your vehicle lettering.
Some people simply use their lettering as a means of branding their vehicles. For branding purposes, all you need is your logo and your slogan if you have one. In addition to this branding, however, many business owners include a clear call to action, such as “Call for a free estimate” with a phone number.
Whatever type of messaging you choose to include, make sure you keep it as straightforward and focused as possible, using the fewest number of words necessary to get the message across. Condensing your message will allow you to print it larger if you want and will help people quickly digest the information even if they only glance at your vehicle for a moment.
5. Place Your Lettering Strategically
Finally, you should install your vehicle lettering in a location on your vehicle where it will get plenty of exposure and be easy to read. You may want to place lettering in more than one location so you attract attention from multiple angles.
Generally, it’s best to favor higher portions of your vehicle since this area will be more in line with other drivers’ fields of vision. However, on the back of your vehicle, you can place graphics or lettering farther down, such as on the tailgate of a truck, since a driver stopped behind you is as likely to see these messages as they would lettering on the back windshield.
Unlike most advertising surfaces, vehicles have moving parts which can impact your advertisement. Consider how your text will look with your vehicle’s doors open, for instance, or the windows rolled down slightly. An installation professional can help you choose the ideal location for your vehicle lettering.
How to Find Vehicle Lettering Near You
If you want to put these tips into action and create custom lettering for your vehicle, trust SpeedPro. With high-quality, custom vehicle lettering and graphics from SpeedPro, you can turn your vehicle into something truly unique. SpeedPro has dozens of studios throughout North America, so you can create vehicle lettering at a SpeedPro studio near you.