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Thoughts from Extrabold Design

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A van livery fit to drive a small business forward

So, what’s involved in creating a van livery that works really hard for a small business? Here’s a recent example of just such a project.

Robert, the owner of local business Strathearn Pest Control, approached me looking for help in developing an improved look for his company’s van livery. The opportunity of a ‘blank canvas’ was about to present itself in the shape of a new shiny white addition to their small fleet, and Robert wanted to make the most of this chance to try and up their game visually.

Not that SPC’s existing vans (see example below) were looking shoddy – far from it, they were clean and professional in their presentation. It’s just that they weren’t terribly inspiring, that’s all – not really dressed for turning heads out on the road.

'Before' image of Strathearn Pest Control van

Strathearn Pest Control’s original van livery was clean and functional but not really a head-turner.

Looking at the market they are in, Robert was particularly struck by the boldness and simplicity of the livery of a major player in their industry, Rentokil. I agreed with him that Rentokil’s most recent livery revamp is indeed striking, simple and confident – qualities that he was right to want to emulate – and that they also had a solution that worked well across the large variety of vehicles they use, an important consideration for a large company.

For SPC though, a small, local business that doesn’t have the worldwide recognition of a company like Rentokil, we had to strike a balance: they needed a livery that would be simple and striking enough to give them the clean, professional, confident look of a well-known corporate, whilst giving enough information to position them firmly as a trustworthy local business. The aim was also to make it easy for people to see and remember the name, even from a distance or on the move, and recognise SPC as a local firm and relevant to them.

Robert had decided to opt for a half-wrap for the van – a wise move, as for a slightly larger production cost than he was used to he would get what amounted to a full livery effect, rather than their existing ‘white van with graphics on’ look.

The challenge, then, was to retain the essential elements, build on the established identity, minimise clutter, and create something that would exude confidence and professionalism and give SPC maximum visibility and recognition – something to raise their status and make a real impression out there on the road.

There was also another challenge – one faced when designing any vehicle livery: to make sure the graphics worked well with the shape, contours and features of the vehicle design, and actually enhanced its appearance.

Robert loves the finished result (shown below) and so far it’s getting positive reactions all round. I’m confident, too, that we’ve struck the right balance and got a great-looking van livery together.

'After' image of Strathearn Pest Control van

A finished result to be proud of – a nicely turned-out van, ready for the road.

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