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Vehicle Graphics Contest

Unique Vehicle Winners




This project’s fun factor propelled it to Best of Show accolades. Great Big Signs fabricated these eye-screaming graphics to promote the 1st Annual Austin Ice Cream Festival, which took place August 18 in Waterloo Park. The event included ice-cream eating and making, and popsicle-stick sculpture competitions.

After having devised a rough pencil sketch, Wilkerson scanned his design into a vector-art file and perfected it using CorelDraw x3. The cone and melting cream comprised sculpted expanded-polystyrene (EPS) foam coated with Demand Products’ (Alpharetta, GA) Ureshell two-part, urethane-based hardcoat, which protected it from the elements. They were decorated with1Shot lettering enamels and pearlescent colors applied with an Iwata-Media (Portland, OR) dual-action airbrush. To support the cone and ice-cream dribbles, Wilkerson and Munoz installed a welded, square-tube, aluminum apparatus. The shop devised the graphics with on its Gerber enVision™ cutting plotter using Oracal USA’s 8100 translucent, intermediate calendered vinyl. For an in-depth look at the project, check out the Strictly Commercial column in ST’s January issue.


I don’t think Honda’s most imaginative engineer could have envisioned this Element’s transformation into the “Pluckmobile.” The complex project required a diverse software complement – Adobe Illustrator CS2 (for design presentations), Photoshop CS2 (composing scanned hand sketches into photo elements), SA Intl.’s Flexi-Expert 7.5 (to prepare shop drawings and router files) and EnRoute Pro 3 (for delivery to the router).

Lawder and Palmer fabricated the bird’s crest and tail from .125-in. aluminum. Swain crafted the feet and wattle from Sign*Arts Products’ Sign*Foam 3 18-lb. HDU by routing the rough shape with a Multicam 3000 Series CNC router and handcarving details. On the hood, installers formed Sign*Foam and fiberglass matting and resin mixture to create contours, and decorated the body with Matthews acrylic-polyurethane primer and basecoat.

Ion Art decorated the front with Oracal Orajet transparent vinyl, and created a combination of orange and dusted crystal on the driver and passenger windows. Avery Graphics’ MPI 4002 perforated window film covers the rear side windows and windshield.


Great Big Signs’ development of the “Libby” mascot and further iconography and brand development for College Station, TX-based Freebirds World Burrito has been well documented in our pages through the years. However, the shop’s quality work and free-spirited approach continually impress. From a pencil sketch, Wilkerson refined his work with CorelDraw X3.

Fabricating Libby entailed sculpting fiberglass with a plasma cutter and securing it to a welded armature. Using Oracal paint mask, Wilkerson and Munoz handpainted the Freebirds logo, with 1Shot lettering enamels and hardener, which he detailed with an Iwata-Medea airbrush. They created the bright, azure sky and white clouds with an Iwata-Medea dual-action airbrush.

Great Big Signs welded a square-tube, roof-bolted, aluminum framework to join Libby’s Harley, which Voodoo Customs fabricated. Two coats of automotive-grade clear protect the exterior. Freebirds’ trademark “Circle F” comprises sandblasted HDU decorated with acrylic-polyurethane paint and smalt.


Great Big Signs imparted graphic personality on the hubcaps with graphics plotter-cut on a Gerber enVision with Oracal’s 8100 calendered vinyl. To further enhance the Microbus’ “Flower Power” vibe, Kay tie-dyed curtains by hand for the cab. Freebirds used the van as a promotional tool through the state at its stores, art car parades and at this summer’s Austin City Limits Music Festival.


Got oil? To my knowledge, the “Castrol Car” represents the first time a Caribbean signshop has placed in an ST competition. Janice and Ian (not to be confused with “At Seventeen” crooner Janis Ian) devised the system with CorelDraw, Photoshop and Illustrator. To create the bottle, Neil poured liquid foam into a rectangular mold, shaped it using various carving tools and coated the bottle with fiberglass to protect it from the elements. Next, he applied a thick coat of primer and let it dry for two days before applying three coats of Sherwin Williams black, oil-based, flat-finish paint. Best Signs produced the vehicle wrap and bottle label on its 54-in. Roland DGA Corporation VersaCamm VP-540 printer/cutter using Roland’s SCM-PGVP 2-mil, cast film, which it protected with Sherwin Williams’ liquid overlaminate.





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