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van lettering should i go with the molding line or use a level?

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by CENTERVILLE SIGNS, Dec 28, 2019.

  1. CENTERVILLE SIGNS

    CENTERVILLE SIGNS Member

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    confused
     
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  2. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Depends...there are a lot of variables, including the design, but the "eye doesn't lie", well, it does, but if it looks level it is.
    Sometime there will be a molding or body line that forces you to adjust to it because it makes a "level" layout look off level.
    We will often have a conference and look at the options, and you can always leave it up to the client to make the final decision.
    But, boy are there a lot off looking trucks out there, give me a nice '70 International anyday.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
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  3. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Never use a level. Go with the lines of the vehicle or if the lines are not the same distance, split the difference. Eyeballing it really is the trick here.
     
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  4. Adirondack

    Adirondack New Member

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    There isn't one answer here. Depends on the vehicle, the overall appearance, how the lines on one part of the side line up with another part of the same side, and most importantly, the client's opinion. When we find ourselves in one of those situations, we often pull the client into the discussion. We have a couple of clients that are VERY detail oriented, and we've discovered that it works better if they have the opportunity to weigh in on that type of situation. And there is no one consistent answer (level vs. follow body line).
     
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  5. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Using a Level will 99% of the time make the graphics look crooked. Our eyes naturally follow prominent lines, as a rule of thumb we align to the closest body line or the most dominate visual line of the vehicle.
     
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  6. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    So, if you use a level, are you sure the tires are properly inflated ?? How 'bout the suspension ?? What happens when the plumber outfits his cargo area ?? From the time I started lettering vehicles, I always used straight natural lines of the vehicle, itself. Anything else can backfire of some sort(s) and you'll always look like a hack.
     
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  7. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    There is a consistent answer...100% never use a level.
     
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  8. ApexVinyl

    ApexVinyl Premium Subscriber

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    Years ago when all I did was cut lettering and desigs and even now with printed graphics I always used the lines of the vehicle, and used lay lines with a dry erase marker and tape measure measured from moldings and body lines. Most trucks/vechicles in general don't sit level due to loading and suspension configurations so the eye will follow the slope of the vehcicle as natural....then if you put a graphic on with a level it will look 100% crooked even though it is at true level.
     
  9. GaborS101

    GaborS101 New Member

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    We do a lot of just door lettering on trucks and vans in NY do to the DOT requirement in NY, that everybvehicles with commercial plate must have the name and the address of the business 3” or bigger on both doors, we alway follow the bottom of the doors, since cars are design to have the floors level, but we also always ask the client prior to install, and we explain why we do it this way.
    At the end should be his decision, but in most cases client will trust our judgment.
     
  10. Joel golden

    Joel golden Member

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    We had a fleet of plumbers vans come in and the whole shop had a conference to see what looked better... top line, mid line, level??? The we had 1000 pounds of installer get in the empty back end... talk about a lot of options! Let the customer decide
     
  11. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Active Member

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    I always have a drawing showing how the graphic will situate on the truck. If the client signs off on it, I am good to go. I don't ask them to decide, but if they bring it up I explain my reasoning.

    I use a level, but only after I have established a horizontal reference point. It has an adjustable vial so I can match the slope of the established horizontal reference and transfer that angled line to the rest of the truck. In that way, my graphics can be lined up to the same horizontal reference. Especially for text and geometric shapes, I find if there is an internal logic between the seperate elements it looks better. One thing that bugs me on a lot of installs is text set at different angles (unless it was designed to be that way).

    935l_callouts.jpg
     
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  12. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    How accurate is using a level like that? Is it better then eyeballing? My thing is, if ya cant eyeball it you probably shouldn't be applying graphics.
     
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  13. tbullo

    tbullo Superunknown

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    Wow, that level brings back memories of my shipway days.
     
  14. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Active Member

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    The adjustable level is accurate. I certainly use my "eye" to establish the initial reference horizontal that works with the design and "stance" of the vehicle, but transfering the line for other elements is made easier using the adjustable level. The eye can play tricks on you.

    The difference can be startling. One line of type that is on a slightly off level from other lines of type or a geometric shape (such as a rectangle) can throw the presentation off. When they have an internal relationship to each other, the graphic reads as a whole.

    The worst offenders are when text or horizontal elements are printed on a single graphic panel, then placed on a surface with compound curves. In many cases I will produce seperate elements that overlay an overall image that is not so effected by the compound curves.

    Of course, every situation is different. You have to go with what works for the project.
     
  15. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    I don't see that tool as an accurate means. Whatever surface that vehicle is on is held to different standards. Say for instance, most vehicles today have very few horizontal one can rely on. Therefore, if your installer has a slightly slanted floor from which he is working, throwing off his eye, the mechanics of the physical vehicle will be all over the place.

    Just had a bunch of dumpsters in here for lettering. If we used that level, they would've looked horrendous. The wheels are different sizes, throwing everything off, the rails are all welded by eye and the mullions are all different sizes. Our bay floors are 100% level, but the dumpsters weren't. We put about 9 of them out in the last 3 weeks and all looked level to the eye when being hauled. That's where the customer had the most concern. Therefore, we listened to his wishes and made him happy. We have almost 20 more to go in the next month or so.
     
  16. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Active Member

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    You just need to learn how, and when, to use the tool. The final arbiter is how it looks when complete.
     
  17. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Vans aren't boxy like they used to be. Rockers aren't straight and neither are rooflines. As others have said if it looks straight it is straight. Visually correct is the term I use.
     
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  18. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    van lettering.jpg
     
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  19. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    I just point the vehicle north-south during delivery and then tell the customer I used meridian lines to set the level.
    Most don't know what they are but won't admit it to a lowly sign guy so they give me the thumbs up & drive off.
     
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  20. player

    player Major Contributor

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