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  • how do i find the level line on a van?

    Posted by F. Skierk on July 29, 2002 at 3:00 pm

    hi everyone!
    i have a question that has been bugging me for a while.
    when you fit small vans with an odd shape to them. where do you find your straight level edge? hope that makes sense 😆

    when i finish a job i always feel its maybe not running level, but it is with my sizes…. please help 😳 😕 😆

    Teejay replied 21 years, 8 months ago 5 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Joe McNamara

    July 29, 2002 at 4:21 pm

    Hi sally,
    I’m sure this question of yours will lure Mike from his shed to give you an answer 😉
    Theres something called the “dominant line” on most vehicles and it’s usually best to measure off it.
    I know some of these new odd shaped vans are a pain in the A, probably no thought going into functionality in their design – just making them a bit different looking, bloody designers… 😆
    Anyway this “dominant line” can be a piece of black trim, the bottom of the van between the wheels, a curved piece that runs the length of the van……you need to look at the van and see what jumps out at you first, then tack some of your vinyl on and see if it looks “right” before sticking anything. Some people get a horizontal line ( ie with a level ) but I usually show the customer the options and let them decide!!
    Joe 🙄

  • Phill Fenton

    July 29, 2002 at 5:21 pm

    I generally use the sill or a bump strip running along the side of the van as my starting point for deciding what plane to run the lettering.

    Running the lettering level with the road surface is generaly considered to be the correct way to do it – yet when you apply this rule to a van like the Vauxhall Astra – it just doesn’t look right.

    In my opinion, as long as all the lettering runs at the same angle (be it level with the road, or at a slight angle to it – but in line with the dominant feature of the van (as suggested by Joe)) then it should look right. I usually fit the main message first – then take my measurements off this to ensure all the rest of the lettering runs in the same plane (idealy level with the road – but not always so).

    I’m not saying this way is right – only that this is what I do. I am also interested to hear what others think. 😀

  • Bill Preston

    July 29, 2002 at 6:36 pm

    Another opinion–this time from the Colonies.

    This topic came up some little time back on the Letterheads Bullboard, and not everyone agreed on what was “correct.”

    I can’t address the vehicles in England or the rest of Europe for that matter—-many are not seen over here. With our domestic vans many do not have much in the way of straight, or parallel body lines. My own method is to pick what was referred to as the dominant longest line and align to it. The Ford Econoline starting with the ’91 model was the one that drove everyone over here bonkers with its ” old Coke bottle” shape. Most of us finally more-or -less agreed that the body line just below the door handle was the one to use. Using the roof drip-edge line invariably made lettering look crooked. Using more than one body line was even worse—lines of copy were not lined up to each other.

    Attempting to level to a floor is risky at best; a soft tire, uneven floor, a sagging spring, uneven vehicle load — any or all can contribute to the finished job just not looking right.

    FWIW from one of of us who doesn’t speak, or write, or properly spell the Queen’s English.

  • Martin Pearson

    July 29, 2002 at 10:58 pm

    Hi Sally,
    Joe, Phil and Bill have just about summed it up, if you step back from the van pick the line that first catches your eye this is usually the one to work from. Tack the graphics on taking measurements from this line and then stand back and look again. If the graphics look right when go ahead and apply. If they dont then you might have to look again for another line. At the end of the day its not neccessarily what is right by the spirit level but what is right by eye. After all this is how everyone will see it and you cant go round telling the world it might look wrong but technically its correct!!
    There are a few odd balls as Phil has already mentioned, as you go on you’ll learn which ones to look out for and sometimes you can eliminate some of the problems with the design. But at the end of the day let the customer make the decision after you have explained the possible problems, at least that way they cant complain you have put the graphics on squint

  • Teejay

    August 6, 2002 at 10:25 am

    Hi Sal,
    I rarely measure anything . If it looks right ,it is right. Stepping back for an overall look works for me. But it all depends on your remit. If you are designing from scratch you have the opportunity to work with the shape of the vehicle . Use envelopes and perspectives to ‘wedge’ into the lines.
    As far as I’m concerned there are no rules. Besides, from a distance a van is still a square box.

    Trust your eyes gal. 😮

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