Marketing On the Go: The Value of Branding your Vehicle

Nonkosi Matrose

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

8 minutes

What makes vehicle branding such a powerful marketing tool is that you can reach thousands of potential clients just by hopping into your car and driving. It has the power to transform your existing wheels into an advertising opportunity.

Although television, print and radio advertising have their place, a quick and affordable way to advertise your business is by placing your mark on your vehicles. We all spend a lot of time in and around the road, so not taking advantage of our commute-bound situations by turning your vehicle into a moving billboard is a missed opportunity.

Even if you aren’t actively reading that locksmith’s advertisement on the side of their truck next to you on your way back from work, you have been exposed to it regardless. You have subconsciously acknowledged that information ⁽⁷⁾. Before you slap a magnetic sticker on your van or covering your truck with a giant wrap — take note of the following about vehicle branding:

The benefits

1: Gain brand awareness

Customers are more likely to reach out to you if you have built awareness around your brand because, as people, we tend to go with what we are familiar with. There are hundreds of eyes on your brand every day as you drive around as you usually do — vehicle branding utilises that time and space to market your brand.

Those wandering eyes at the stoplight will lock on your vehicle’s graphics, and your business will be on your prospective’s mind — whether for future reference or if they want your offerings at that moment.

2: Builds credibility

Displaying your company information on your vehicle helps demonstrate that you are serious and established. You are showing customers what you do and that you take it seriously. A well-branded vehicle will help a customer trust that you will be of value to them.

3: Affordable advertising

The affordability of branding your vehicle allows for switching your graphic up often without breaking the bank. You could advertise your business as a whole or a particular service or special you may have running.

Simply by driving to and from their place of business, a vehicle advertisement can get 30,000 to 70,000 daily vehicular impressions. - Jetline Printing

The how

Now that we have laid down the benefits of branding your vehicles, it’s time to delve into the how, using one of South Africa’s leading logistics company, the Onelogix Group, as an example.

Identify the goal:

Ask yourself what you want to achieve by branding your vehicle. Is it to gain new customers? Drive traffic to your website? Or to look more professional to the public? Defining your goal will be the deciding factor whether your design will be more on the flashy side to garner attention with big lettering and illustrative elements. Or straightforward with some vinyl decals on the doors in order to look more established to existing customers. The goal for Onelogix’s vehicle branding was to give their existing fleet a fresh and more uniform look. The company houses a number of 14 companies under its name and required a refresh that united all its various brands.

Choose the content:

While there is no correct answer when it comes to what information to put on your vehicle, what is clear is that it needs to communicate your trade effectively. Whether to include just your name and logo or your name, logo, phone number, website and list of services is dependent on how big your operation is and your goal. For household name brands to look more professional, just your name and logo will do just fine. For businesses operating at a smaller scale, we recommend including more information. It needs to be clear what you do and how to contact you.

With the inclusion of just the name and the logo, ‘X’ marks the spot as a unifier of the Onelogix Group fleet. We did this by simplifying their colour palette and emphasising the brand red throughout their logistics solutions. The shared emphasis on their logo mark truly binds them as a collective.

Create the design

These are the factors to take into considerations when creating your vehicle’s brand design:

1. The template

Before you even start designing anything, you need to obtain an accurate template of the vehicle you will be designing. Strict rules for application are necessary to ensure that branding across all vehicles is uniform. For the Onelogix Group fleet, we created technical drawings of every one of their vehicles. Technical drawings allow for efficient communication among the team of designers, as a visual is more effective than a written plan, and it can be kept as a record of the planning process.

Vehicle Branding client Onelogix truck technical drawings-min
Figure 1: Technical drawings for the Onelogix Group fleet

2. Design inspiration

Now it’s time to start thinking about how to turn your client’s vehicle wrap dream into a reality. Find out how they see their vehicle coming to life and source some design ideas on your side as well. Since Onelogix required a refresh, we drew our inspiration directly from their previous fleet design.

Vehicle Branding client Onelogix Buffelshoek old truck branding-min
Figure 2: Onelogix Group’s Buffelshoek vehicle branding before the brand refresh

3. The layout

It’s important to consider how your branded vehicle will be seen — as it will usually be seen whilst in motion. So keep in mind that extensive text might make it hard to read. ⁽⁸⁾ With the use of their bold primary colours and one central point of focus, the Onelogix Group fleet design is eye-catching and easy to recall.

4. Special considerations

Take into consideration specific physical details of the vehicle. For example, if sliding doors are a feature, consider what the design will display when doors are opened – and perhaps avoid some embarrassing text. ⁽⁸⁾ For Onelogix, this step was more straightforward. As we were creating a unified look, the logo mark graphic throughout the fleet has the exact dimensions. The only difference is the specific companies having their logo sized up according to the vehicle’s body. The more space we had to work with, the bigger the company’s logo is.

Vehicle Branding client Onelogix Buffelshoek red background mock up-min
Figure 3: Onelogix Group's Buffelshoek's new and improved vehicle branding

“Vehicle branding is one of the most valuable promotional tools in the marketer’s arsenal.” - Jetline Printing

The dos and don’ts

To get the most out of your vehicle branding investment, you need to recognise how best to represent your company through quality graphics. ⁽⁷⁾

1. DON’T overload with graphics and information, DO keep it simple

Your audience often has just a few seconds to digest the content on your vehicle - so it’s best to be clear and concise. Your most important information is, of course, your logo and name. And depending on how big your business is, it would be best to include your contact information and a summary of your products or services. ⁽⁷⁾

2. DON’T use an overly decorative font, DO use a font readable from a distance

While your first inclination may be to select a unique font in an attempt to stand out, potential customers will have a much easier time reading a simpler font. When collaborating with your design agency make sure a font legible from a distance is selected. ⁽⁷⁾

3. DON’T use low-quality photos, DO use professional photography

Even if you have a small vehicle, any photos applied to it will need to be enlarged significantly. Meaning a fuzzy or grainy image on a company vehicle will not make the cut. Your vehicle branding needs to reflect the quality of work you do. To avoid looking unprofessional, use professional photography. ⁽⁷⁾

4. DON’T confuse your customers, DO send a clear and concise message

You need to create a design that is appropriate for your business — whether it be a full wrap or a simple application of your logo and slogan. While a simpler design is the one sure way to communicate clearly to your audience, adding oversized graphics, big lettering, or a coloured hood is a great way to set your vehicle’s branding apart while remaining professional and on- brand. ⁽⁷⁾

Vehicle Branding client Dü Paint and Tool truck with curtain stacked logo mock up-min
Figure 4: DÜ Paint + Tool's vehicle branding makes a splash on the road

For example, DÜ Paint and Tool being a paint company meant their vehicle branding had to make a splash. We included just their logo and website address, yet their vehicle is far from boring. The purple wrap with their oversized paint splatters attracts attention without the graphics being gimmicky or out of place. The paint splatters don’t compete with the important information either.

5. DON’T be boring, DO make a statement

Remaining professional doesn’t mean sacrificing unique designs. This is where a design agency can come in and help you think outside of the box. Tengwa Africa is an industry-leading transport and warehousing service that provides a range of logistics solutions from road to sea to air, to rail. In essence, they work on a vast scale and have an array of vehicles. Bright, playful, and colourful branding on their vehicles would not send the correct message. For the logistics brand, we created vehicles that are both professional while visually striking. Through an oversized version of their logo wrapped around the vehicle, the look is the perfect mix of professional and dynamic.

Vehicle Branding client Tengwa Africa tanker truck mock up-min
Figure 5: Tengwa Africa's vehicle branding is a perfect mix of professional and dynamic

The options

There are a number of vehicle branding options. To decide which suits your business best, weigh out the benefits below based on your budget, business size and the type of vehicles you are branding. ⁽³⁾

Magnetic Car Signs:

It is often used by businesses that want to avoid permanently branding their vehicle as this option allows for removable application. ⁽⁶⁾

  • The easiest and most cost-effective option
  • Can suit any business and any vehicle
  • Flexible and lightweight
  • Quick and easy application and removal provides flexibility
  • Durable material providing a long lifespan
  • Can last between 3-5 years


It has perforated window film that allows vehicle advertising to extend onto the windows of vehicles. Its specifically designed 'honeycomb' holes result in it being 'see through' from the inside, but not from the outside. ⁽⁵⁾

  • Comes with an easy to use self-adhesive backing
  • More elaborate and eye-catching vehicle branding option
  • The material is applied to windows without obscuring the view
  • Reduces UV rays, protecting the inside of the vehicle from sun damage
  • Good quality Contravision lasts between 1-2 years

Vinyl Graphics:

This option combines decals and lettering that are digitally printed wrap vinyl, and then cut into their proper shapes and applied individually to your car. ⁽⁴⁾

  • Semi-permanent solution that provides a more professional look
  • More cost-effective and quick, and easy to apply
  • Vinyl can last up to 8 years

Vehicle Wrap:

This option is created from vinyl with digitally printed decals and lettering that are then used to cover most (if not all) of your vehicle. ⁽⁴⁾

  • More elaborate and eye-catching vehicle branding option
  • Typically have a higher rate of audience retention
  • Great way to get attention to promote your business
  • Good quality vehicle wrap lasts between 5-7 years

Figure 6: An eye-catching presentation of how the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) is truly driven by vision

Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) is the most influential, well-known and visible transport authority in South Africa. The arrows and blades graphic we created for them perfectly illustrates how they are driven by vision. The distinction of the graphic is amplified by it being enlarged and literally wrapping around from one side of the vehicle to the other. For eye-catching and luminous colours that stand out in traffic, a vinyl wrap on a vehicle is the way to go. This vehicle branding option also offers significantly more design and finish options to choose from.

To turn your vehicles into dynamic billboards in motion, contact Creative Caterpillar for a free branding consultation.


(1) Handyman Startup
(2) Diggles Creative
(3) Jetline
(4) Landon Graphics
(5) Adverset
(6) Wholesale Magnetic Signs
(7) Johne Wright ‍