Food Truck Branding School: Colors and Menu
Danielle LeComte February 10, 2016
Any designer will tell you that colors matter. You need them to show up in your environment. Where will you park your food truck? Right off Times Square where customers are flooded with loud colors and advertisements? On a sunny tree-lined block near a college campus? Outside a music venue on a city street? Think about location when deciding on your food truck brand’s color palette.
Food Truck Branding In Living Color
Make your food truck stand out by using the opposite color palette of your landscape’s colors. If you’re going to be out among lots of trees, don’t go green! If your background is Steel City, stay away from gray. People are generally drawn to warm colors like red, orange, and yellow, but this is by no means a rule, and an oversaturation of warms tones could hurt you since it is commonly used.
Will you be catering to weddings? Consider the photo ops and go for a classic, stylish look. Will you be at the beach? Tap into that beach culture and go wild with color. Balance this with versatility so that your food truck will be recognizable wherever you go. Your food truck colors, along with your logo and name, create a culture around your truck that people will grow to identify with your scrumptious eats.
Browse some articles about color theory and trends. Learn about the color wheel and all of its glory. Colorblocking (using multiple bold, solid colors) is trendy right now. Or perhaps you favor a couple high contrasting colors. If you go with a busy design, consider monochromatic colors. Find a balance that will stand out and communicate your brand. Lack of color is also a good strategy if you are parked in a city that has a lot of urban and edgy food truck design.
It’s not too early to start thinking about the details. How will you package your delectable cupcakes? Will that bacon-wrapped hotdog need a wrapper itself? You have a lot of options here, and a good rule of thumb is to contrast your packaging with your food truck’s design. If you have a zany, all over pattern decorating your truck, go with solid packaging design utilizing an accent color you pull of the truck.
Keep the colors in your food truck branding simple and use our cultural associations. Yellow is cheerful. White is clean and innocent. Red is hot. Stick with 3-4 colors and try not to overdo it.
Starting Thinking About Your Menu Layout and Design
A lot of people wait until they have a truck before thinking about where the menu will go. Get on it now and plan it as an integrated part of your design.
First, let’s look at some potential customers. Your guy has been jamming all afternoon at a concert and he’s downright hangry. Or maybe she’s got three meetings and an evaluation today and needs a heavenly bit of sustenance. These folks need a simple food truck menu that they can choose from efficiently. Keep it short, and if you’ve got tons of recipes you want to use, working with daily specials will keep your creative juices flowing and provide something new for your customers every time.
Your concert-goer and your working gal both want something fast. Avoid long descriptions and overwhelming options. Place your menu close to your customer and near eye level. Use a font that is consistent with your food truck branding. Consider using a frame with hooks or hinges that can be removed and updated. Chalkboards work well, if you’ve got great handwriting and lettering abilities. And don’t let that baby smear! Keep an eye on it throughout the day to make sure it’s legible and looking sharp.
Consult your hired artist on this. Creative professionals are excellent problem solvers and might come up with something you haven’t thought of or a custom signage solution. By incorporating your menu in your early planning stages, you ensure that it won’t be scrunched into a corner, and your customers will be ready to order when they step up to the window.
Considering both of these design elements early on will put you ahead of the curve when it comes to your food truck branding. Starting thinking about all this before you get on the road and you’ll have a much smoother trip and look a lot more professional once your food truck is launched and rolling.