Behind The Scenes: What Exactly Goes Into Creating Some Of The Biggest & Most Creative Commercial Vehicles?

Whether it is planes, trains or automobiles, one thing unites all commercial vehicles: they need to look the part. We might take it for granted, but the look of large transportation is vital – it’s the biggest, boldest display a business has of its brand. It sets the tone to customers in a good and bad way. Let’s face it, nothing quite says ‘we offer poor service’ like peeling paintwork – whether it is fair or not.

So, what goes into making this statement?

Firstly, a business must have a clear identity and strong branding to back that up. Bold colours and eye catching logos are the work of graphic designers and these need to be strong – if they are they are worth their weight in gold.

The rest of the process is about taking the design stage and translating that onto a (very) big scale but it’s vital to spend time getting this right first. Whether you favour an abstract symbol or a stylised version of your company’s name, this needs the services of a professional designer to be able to speak to your target market and catch the eye of customers.

A large scale project

So, when you’ve got that logo, how do you go about getting onto the side of a jumbo jet or high speed train?

The answer involves a big hangar, lots of staff, the right equipment and a lot of time.

A time lapse video on the Daily Mail website shows the whole 13-day process for an Emirates Boeing 777 – which is required every seven years or so.

Adel Al Redha, executive vice president and chief operations officer of Emirates, told the paper: “It’s not just about looking good. The paint coat has to withstand fierce weather conditions, including severe wind, bitter cold and searing heat, and an exterior coat that is clean of debris and imperfections improves aerodynamics and reduces fuel consumption.

“Emirates already flies a young and efficient fleet, but with fuel prices at consistently high levels, every little bit of efficiency counts.”

The project called on about 30 different people, who are able to work on about 21 such projects in a year in a round-the-clock operation in Dubai.

Common need in an ever-changing world

This process is in demand on a regular basis.

Earlier this year, UK rail operator Southeastern announced that a third of its fleet was to be given a revamp.

New carpet and lino will be accompanied, of course, by new exterior livery with new deep blue and light blue doors.

Sprucing up these 112 trains isn’t an uncommon process in a world of ever-changing rail franchises. These trains are about 15 years into a 30-year life span and with rail operators typically in charge of a franchise – and its rolling stock – for seven years at a time it means equipment such as the blasting rooms here, is regularly required to strip away old branding and logos and give the vehicles a fresh look. Even when a company keeps its franchise, it often wants a fresh look every few years.

Decorating and branding huge commercial vehicles is a task that requires strong artistic direction, backed up by large scale manpower and cutting edge equipment. Such vehicles need attention every few years if they are to stay looking at their best throughout their lifespan, too.


Marketme is a leading small business to small business news, marketing advice and product review website. Supporting business across the UK with sponsored article submissions and promotions to a community of over 50,000 on Twitter.