If They Can’t See You, They Can’t Find You

Now here's a branded vehicle! (Author/illustrator Brian Lies' Batmobile)

Now here’s a branded vehicle! (Author/illustrator Brian Lies’ Batmobile)

One of the best ways to increase the visibility of your business is on a vehicle (at least in suburban and urban areas). It’s fantastic roadway advertising because you don’t have to commit to one location — like a billboard — and aside from the initial investment, it doesn’t cost anything. Also, the vehicle is going to be on the road anyway, so it may as well serve a dual purpose.

Today I saw a van that was a good example. It was a black van advertising Wayne Towle whose business is furniture refinishing and woodwork restoration. As it passed by, the van’s color grabbed me first (could this be the A-Team inside?!?), and then I noticed the logo which has a signature bearing the business name and an overall refined look. The side of the van had a few words which immediately conveyed what the business does. As I stopped behind it at a traffic light, I noticed that the website and phone number were in clear, large lettering on the back along with the logo. This all seems pretty obvious, right? But, how many times have you seen a commercial vehicle with fancy, illegible writing or a phone number in 14 point font?

Maybe this isn’t so important because we can find (nearly) everything on the Internet if we know the name, but the legibility issue extends to items like yard signs and flyers. You only have a few seconds to catch someone’s attention and convey the most important message. Too often I’ve seen the tendency to put as much information as can possibly fit on a sign or flyer. Depending on the size, start with two to four lines that say what you really need people to know. Make them as large as you can, and then fill in the rest sparingly. Don’t crowd the space or you run the risk of busy-ness, and no one will pay attention. Finally, print out your final version before you spend the money to make the official signs/flyers/etc. Things look very different on the screen than they do in real life. Think about how far away the reader will be viewing your information and how fast they’ll be going. The reader driving down the road at 35 mph v. the one standing at the counter waiting for a coffee require different approaches. Although if it’s the first coffee of the day, a neon billboard might be appropriate.

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