A full-colour curtain side is a perfect way to profile a product or service to the public. In order to create a convincing message and utilise the opportunities to their fullest, there are a few things to take into consideration when coming up with the design. Here are 8 points to consider when designing curtain sides for lorries.
1. Be aware of the medium
Lorries are large and move through the traffic. That’s why you should try to limit the message to its core. For example, a phone number is harder to remember than a website or the name of a company. Make a clear decision when it comes to the aim of your message. Is increasing brand recognition more important, or are you trying to bring a product to the public’s attention?
Did you know that a lorry is seen around a million times per month?
2. Communicate using images
Producing a curtain is more than simply printing. The technique used by Solidskin to produce the textile has been specially developed for high quality printing. Colours are much more intense and shades of black are much richer, thanks to the varnishing effect of the protective coating.
When preparing an image, it’s important that shades of black are actually black (in their composition). Bearing in mind the intensifying effect, it is also important to make the middle tints lighter, to increase the contrast.
3. Image space: the ratchet straps
Ratchet straps and the compulsory reflective stripes disrupt the image space and are more susceptible to damage. It’s therefore a good idea to take this into account in your design.
The buckles can tear or come loose on a journey, or might not have been closed properly, and the straps might then rub the curtain, causing visible damage. In order to prevent this kind of mechanical damage to the image, the creator of the curtain can design the lower part of the full-colour image with a strip of coloured canvas. It is therefore advisable to have as little imagery as possible in this strip, or to consciously include the strip in the design.
4. Image space: the weather strip
To prevent rainwater from coming in, a so-called weather strip of about 10 cm is added to the top of the curtain side. This fixed part of the trailer covers the opening between the rails and the curtain side. You should allow for the reduction in the size of the image as a result of this strip.
If the strip is made partially or entirely made of a hard synthetic material, it will cut the full-colour curtain side like a knife, whenever the curtain is opened or closed. This could damage the image after a while. A dark PVC strip can be welded to the curtain-side to prevent this. This strip is cut without it being noticeable, preventing this happening to the actual curtain. Ask the creator of your curtain for the well-known details about this.
5. Infinite possibilities in the use of colour
Did you know that a unique colour significantly increases brand recognition?
Standard curtain sides are only available in conventional bodywork colours, but it’s the combination of an iconic lorry and trailer colour that can really create a personal and signature style. The Solidskin coating technique provides a unique degree of shine. This technique ensures that the shine on the cover is the same as that of the bodywork. A unique characteristic of our printing technique is the printing of very fine colour gradients, thanks to our low printing speed. This also allows us, for example, to create a really dynamic image from the front to the rear.
Printable has special formulae that enable us to match bodywork colours precisely and create a uniform visual impact. In addition to RAL systems, we can also match NTSC, Pantone and brand colours, for example car brands. Take the colour scheme and the design of the lorry and the trailer bodywork into account in your design. Our studio can help you with matching the colours.
6. Grey inside
Solidskin full-colour curtain sides are standard grey on the inside. This is a deliberate choice; the dirt from intensive use is less visible, or not visible at all and the contours of the load can’t be seen when light shines from the side (block-out effect). An additional advantage is that the colour intensity of the actual image is much greater.
7. Left and right sides
A fact sometimes forgotten is that the direction in which you drive has an effect on the design. Despite it being easy to apply the same design on both sides, in practice we see that this only works with a centred design. It’s always worth at least mirroring the design per side and taking a good look at the whole image story.
Although in the case of a vector design, the resolution isn’t an issue, it can prove to be a challenge for pixel designs on large surfaces. Our printers can process a resolution of 600 dpi, but that sometimes makes files extremely large. The printing techniques are, however, better. This means that with the correct conversion of files from as low as 250 dpi at 100% it’s possible to achieve a perfect result.
So, you should make sure that the images in the design have this resolution or higher. It is, therefore, sometimes necessary to enlarge the image beforehand. If this enlargement is over 150% of the original image, we advise you to put ‘noise’ or ‘grain’ over the image. This increases the apparent focus and at the same time increases the intensifying and varnishing effect described in photography.
Did you know that Solidskin has a standard 5-year guarantee on image quality?