How To Remain Distressed

Flowers By BryanThis is a job that I’ve been meaning to post about for some time.  A couple of years ago a client contacted us regarding some hand-painted work on a Volkswagen Camper.

He had bought the vehicle and had it shipped over from the United States where it had been discovered, abandoned in the Hollywood hills – a discarded relic from the sixties with a psychedelic paint job!

Upon bringing the van to the UK, our client proceeded to strip back the paint and began to unearth the vehicles’ previous purpose – that of a florists delivery van.

Although the previous lettering was very vague, the client managed to piece together a rough outline of the florist logo and information. He then came to us with a series of sketchings, to attempt to re-paint the original signwriting back onto the camper van.

This is how it came out.

Flowers By Brian 01The customer was keen to retain the look of the van and wanted the new paint work to have a distressed finish. Vaughan had to thin the paints down so they didn’t look like they had been applied recently, and also had to purposefully scuff areas of the lettering to create a weathered, paint-peeling look.


photo(3)We were out in Okeford Fitzpaine this week, a small village near Blandford in Dorset, fitting 600mm high vinyl letters to the sides of two 10 metre long trailers for a haulage contractor.

Although many of the companies’ lorries are fitted with vinyl graphics, one of the vehicles we were working on had a beautifully (albeit faded) signwritten and pinstriped cab which i felt was worth a photograph or two.

photo(4)photo(5)My dad commented that it looked like the work of Ken Hughes, a long-since departed Dorset signwriter, a detail that was confirmed later that afternoon while in conversation with the company boss.

I’ve previously expressed my admiration for casual lettering styles and how writers can develop their own recognizable style. The lettering on this truck cab mostly consisted of basic block and serif alphabets, yet somehow the letters were still recognizable as those of a specific sign painter.

About a year ago my dad painted a vintage truck for the same company. He was requested to literally ‘perform’ the work as part of their 40th anniversary and painted the vehicle during the celebrations with an audience of onlookers watching his every stroke! Here it is…..

ND Young vintage truck