One of the things that makes a custom truck unique from the truck parked next to it at a show is the paint. Paint is the most obvious way to assert our identity through our rides, and a paintjob can make or break a show truck. But when it comes down to what style to spray over the primer, a lot of people get stumped. Do you go with flames, or have they been done to death? Do you go with graphics? What type of graphics? Do you paint the inside of the truck as well as the outside? Although no single answer is ever going to apply to everyone, we'll show you a few ideas that may point you in the right direction.

Fire it Up

Flames have been a paint concept since the first custom paintjob was masked out on an early hot rod. Unlike the '80s favorite, water -- or snot (depending on the color) -- flames have lasted through the decades because of their sweeping lines and flexibility in respect to styling. Traditional flames have changed to tribal, which have evolved into many forms.

The Right Stripes

Pinstriping, which is usually a single line traced around the design in a complementing color or a single independent symmetrical piece, has evolved over the last 10 years. It was originally considered bad form to deviate from the design, but now we see pinstriping taking on a whole new style: Perfection has been replaced with exaggerated hash marks or non-symmetrical designs.

To Tweed or Not to Tweed...

Five years ago, if you looked in the cab of any show truck you saw one thing: tweed. It's an easy-to-use material that, unlike vinyl, is non-biased, meaning it will stretch either way. However, the latest trends involve a much smoother look. Factory plastic is being sanded and painted along with fiberglass moldings, which creates more of a free-flowing design and allows the painter to easily bring the exterior graphics inside the cab.

Think Outside of the Box

Back in the days of hair bands and stupid terms such as bodacious, putting a hard tonneau cover on the bed of a truck was considered good enough. 20 years later, if you plan on taking home First Place trophies, that won't cut it. Now smoothed beds and an intricate bridge is where it's at.

Brush Fire

Airbrushing on vehicles is used to create depth in a design. It can be used to add a shadow beneath the licks of a flame or to extrude the design within the flame. A newer concept that painters are trying is to cover the truck from head to tail with realistic flames. The airbrush offers more control, and any painter will tell you that the more control you have, the more detail you can create.

Being Dull Isn't Always a bad thing

One of the newest of the retro-trends is sheen rather than shine. Suede, which is a basecoat covered by a semi-gloss clearcoat, brings a sense of instant hot-rod styling to just about any vehicle. The suede look is generally accompanied by pinstriping or traditional flames on the truck.