Hand Painted Logo on Tucson Catering Trailer

Here’s the whole story continued from our portfolio post, Hand Painted Logo on Tucson Catering Trailer. To book your own large calligraphy, click this link to Contact Us.

Design and Concepts

This was my largest project to date and I was definitely up to the challenge. Pablo, owner of Scratching the Plate, was so excited to get the logo and text painted onto the trailer! He and his team were starting to do a lot more catering and curbside events. I really appreciated his confidence in my abilities. It’s not every morning I wake up and have a client ask me to permanently paint on their vehicle.

I’ll humbly offer a word of advice here to people who are new to larger scale projects: always visit the space (or vehicle!) in person if possible. Take your own measurements and get a feel for the space and what will be appropriate there. Instead of insisting I take this step, I eyeballed the measurements and created a design based on my educated guesses. This cost me a lot of time. So, I implore you, get accurate measurements before the fact.

The Service Window Side

Experimenting with the placement of the logo

The most important thing I tried to keep in mind throughout the design process was visibility. From my perspective, the function of the logo is recognition. Of course, the trailer being bright yellow helps with visibility in the first place! The next thing to consider is what to do with all that attention. I wanted the logo, tagline, and social handle to be visible if the trailer was in traffic or if there was a seating area in front of the trailer.

Sizing and Printing the Text

I saw lots of beautiful Tucson sunsets as I worked!

The available area for the text block on the trailer was 8 feet by 8 feet. Once I knew this, I made a mockup to-scale in Photoshop and played with the arrangement of the text. I converted the text to outlines and printed them on my computer. Crop marks on the printouts helped me put the pages together accurately. I could also have printed these as a larger piece, but I wanted the flexibility of moving the letters line by line in case of irregularities in the surface of the trailer. I was thankful for smaller pieces later on . . you’ll see why.

Transferring Artwork

Steadying my writing arm on the trailer for smooth lines

There are several different ways to transfer artwork from one surface to another. I’ve learned that a great transfer goes a long way, but it’s not a substitute for skill and practice. And no matter how many times I remind myself how sped-up time-lapse videos are, I can never seem to gauge how long something will actually take me to do!

While still at home, I taped long horizontal strips of my design together. I rolled them up and numbered what order they needed to be transferred in, from top to bottom. At the trailer, I measured several times for placement and used masking tape to stick the strips to the trailer before using black carbon paper to transfer the design over.

Tip: make sure the surface of the vehicle you’re working on is freshly cleaned and degreased. The paint will adhere much better to a clean surface. If you wait to clean until after you’ve transferred your design, your design will come off too. Efficiency is professional.

Weather Notes

I worked on this project from late October through the end of November. Here in Tucson during those months, we have varying weather. Some days it was 90 degrees by 11am, others were cold and very windy. On hot days, I worked and ate lunch in the shade of the trailer itself. Time passed like nothing as I went along. During the windy days, I was glad that my design was in manageable sizes! It was nice to have some semblance of control and productivity. And tape. Lots of tape. On these windy and cold days, I would take breaks in the shelter of my car. Taking regular breaks as you’re working is a valuable practice anyway.

Painting, Painting, Painting

I used black OneShot that I bought from Arizona Art Supply to paint the logo and text on the trailer. I used Mack & Meyer Mop sign painting brushes for painting the text and logo. Painting was a challenge at first because the paint was drying so fast due to the heat and wind. I eventually learned to adjust the paint consistency as I went along. The paintbrushes were a new tool for me and with enough practice, they trained me into making swift and confident strokes.

Hand Painted Logo and Text in 90 Seconds

Photos of the Completed Trailer

Service Window Side
Full Text Side

Parting Words

Pablo was really pleased with the final text. He said it looked a thousand times better than he thought it would. He also loved “Scratch Kitchen” on the door because it embodies one of the values of his catering company. I’m looking forward to hearing how my work helps awareness around Scratching the Plate.

This project was a great opportunity for me to expand into much larger and calculated work. Not that fine calligraphy isn’t calculated! But it’s always exhilarating to put theories and ideas into practice!

Previous Large-Scale Projects

Bring Words Home

Ideally, home is a curated space where we can be our authentic selves. Book a calligraphy mural with words you take with you everywhere you go. We take care to match colors and text to your personal aesthetic, so the calligraphy seems right at home. Anytime you’re there, you can relax and enjoy the view.