Painting an Ice Cream Truck: The Do's and the Don'ts

Q: Why is owning an ice cream truck vending company like owning a modeling agency?

A: Because looks count for A LOT.

There is nothing that is going to lose you more customers in less time than a truck which has a paint job which makes it look sketchy, trashy or just plain boring. So I've created a list of 5 do's and 5 don'ts you should be aware of when making the crucial decision about how to paint your truck:

DO'S:

  1. DO use bright colors which make your truck standout – after all you want to be noticed!
  2. DO use your writing and text which will advertise you by drawing the eye and which is appealing to both children and adults.
  3. DO keep your design simple – do not bombard your customers with distracting colors and images.
  4. DO go for a retro design. For many people, ice cream trucks conjure up treasured memories from their youth so you can never be too old-fashioned!
  5. DO you know your customer! Certain designs will work better in different locations and with people from different backgrounds and income brackets. An ice cream truck selling along Venice Beach is going to have a very different look and feel than a truck selling in downtown Manhattan!

DO NOT:

  1. DO NOT use brown, gray or other colors which make you appear to blend into the background or worse, appear boring.
  2. DO NOT overdo it with decals and decorations. Doing too much visibly can be almost as bad as doing too little.
  3. DO NOT use color schemes which may be associated with drugs or other illegal activity. Some ice cream vendors have given the industry a bad name by dealing more than ice cream from their trucks!
  4. DO NOT place decals and other signage too high or too low. Make sure that all writing can be seen by both children and adults.
  5. DON "T spoil your amazing design by forgetting that a window may have to go in the middle of it! Make sure that you take into account the practicalities of your vehicle and make a sketch before you start painting.

At the end of the day the design of your ice cream truck will be a major component in how people view your business. When in doubt keep it simple, it is better to have a well executed simple design then trying to get fancying and having an amateur paint job. The easiest things to do are also the most effective, add some color to your bumpers, wheels, mirrors, and your rooftop speaker. Customers will notice the little things like uneven paint, uncentered decals and lettering or crooked lines so make sure everything is done right, especially on the side of your truck that has the serving window.

And remember, just because you painted your truck does not mean you can neglect it; Make sure you spray it down with water every few days and whenever it rains, because the dirt the accumulates on your roof will bleed down onto the sides of your truck.