Los Angeles design firm Studiofluid provides tips for designing a food truck wrap as well as a FREE Food Truck template:
Contributed by Studiofluid
It’s no secret that food trucks are surging in popularly here in Los Angeles as well as other cities like Portland and New York. They’re fun, and the quality of the food can be impressive.
Since completing the branding and design of the Tango Mango Truck, we’ve had a number of people ask about the process of wrapping a food truck and now we’re sharing what we learned.
Keep reading if you’d like to download the free template at the end of the post…
These days vehicles aren’t typically painted with graphics, instead they are wrapped with a thin vinyl film. Wrapping is a cost-effective way to outfit your rig and the surface is surprisingly durable (but we’ve all seen when lack of restraint produces tacky results). Vinyl sheets are printed and then carefully applied by hand in small pieces, contouring around some elements like fenders and covering over other surface details like rivets and sometimes even windows.
Early on in our design process, we hand-measured our client’s actual truck to create a template that we could work with in Adobe Illustrator. This was an essential step, because it allowed us to work out the details of the brand and evaluate the work in proper context, making sure the logo, colors and type were all working together effectively.
Once the design was finalized, submitting the final design to the wrap vendor was a snap, because it was already in the proper format. The process worked flawlessly for us, and we hope you can also get some mileage out of it too.
Keep your design simple: Be aware that wrapping a vehicle is a bit of an imprecise art and you won’t have as much control as you would in designing for a typical printed piece. Try to keep critical pieces of your design away from seams and edges, so they have a better chance of appearing unobstructed.
Is there a difference between left and right? Remember that the Driver side of the vehicle will be facing the street most of the time, and the Passenger or “Service” side will be facing the curb and the crowds most of the time. This might affect the scale of your designs. Also, take into account the forward motion of the truck and how that will affect perception of the graphics.
Be Informed: Be aware of what is already out there. Attend a local Food Truck festival to see a bunch of trucks in one place and inspect the details up close. Check out sites like Roaming Hunger and Mobile Cravings to see what techniques other food trucks are using. Make sure your design is carving out its own space in the marketplace.
Choosing a Vendor: We worked with the fantastic folks at WrapOne in Anaheim, CA. They previously wrapped the Grilled Cheese Truck, Buttermilk, Nom Nom and more, so we knew our project was in good hands. If given the choice, we wouldn’t choose to work with anyone else.
Color Reproduction: Be sure to work with Pantone Spot colors and request a proof from your vendor. They should provide a proof for you to approve, printed on the final vinyl material.
Using the Template
The Truck: The template is for a 2007 Ford E-450 Super Duty Step Van which is a very common model in the food truck world. This one happened to be a retired DHL truck, purchased on ebay. You’ll need to double check with your vendor and coordinate with them before moving to production, but this template should give you a good head start even if you end up with a different truck.
Scale: 1mm = 1inch. The truck is about 21 feet in overall length, bumper to bumper. We reduced the scale to keep things small and so it all fits on a 11×17″ Tabloid page.
Layers: In Illustrator, you’ll find 4 layers—one for each view of the truck. Paste your artwork into the clipping mask within the “ART HERE” layer. You’ll have a finished looking truck designed in no time at all.
Disclaimer: This file is intended for visualization purposes only, to help facilitate presentations with clients and production vendors. It’s reasonably accurate, but double check your truck and with your wrap vendor.
And now for that link.
(1.4MB .zip file in .ai and .pdf formats):
If you have any questions about the template or about designing for a food truck, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you when you’ve used it to create something great!
5217 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90027