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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingMarch 20 - March 26, 2019
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Retro Style Design Marks Flatbed

0 8bf81By George L. Nitti

One of the most basic elements of graphic design is that the lettering be clearly legible; a fact sometimes overlooked.

According to Dino Lawrence of Carolina Signworks in Rockingham, N.C., he often sees trucks compromised with lettering that can't be read.

"The whole point of lettering is that you are able to read it," said Lawrence. "That's one of the problems of many of the wrapped trucks that I see. You can't read the lettering."

With nearly 50 years as an experienced signmaker, his art and craft has evolved, as found on Rockingham Towing's 1996 International T444E with a Champion 19' flatbed.

"They came to me for original work and effects," Lawrence said. "Creative sign men are proficient at hand lettering."

The lettering on this unit clearly stands out as an example of originality, rooted in a form of art called "Jersey-style," popularized in the '60s and '70s.

"This style took off when California drag racers brought their race cars to the East Coast, where they were worked on in shops," Lawrence said. "They picked up on the lettering and it took off."

Lawrence described his own work on the International/Champion unit.

"The font is hand drawn and then worked on in Photoshop, where it is further developed through hours of editing and airbrushing," he said. "Today, too many of the fonts I see come out of font libraries, making everything look the same."

The finished lettering is then printed on top of reflective Scotchcal striping tape, and blends together with other elements of the unit's design; most notably the glossy warm yellow, orange, pink, blue and candy apple colors that are applied to the unit.

To create this, Lawrence draws on the House of Kolor pearl and candy effects that add depth and dimension.

"Using transparent inks on top of Scotch reflective tape mimics House of Kolor pearl and candy apple paint. Over the years my tools have expanded, blending techniques to make for a completely original design," Lawrence said.

The tribal flames on the front side of the unit further add to this retro theme while the fabricated hood—with the hot rod-like projectile—solidifies this compelling vintage design.

Editor's Note: This article appeared in the July 12, 2017 edition of Tow Industry Week.

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com . You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
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