Painting a logo or other brand image on a prominent, exterior wall that is large and seen by many people means that every detail matters.
In this article we will discuss a client story that prompted one of our team members to switch hats from commercial painter to freehand artist to ensure a successful outcome.
The client, Texas-based GDC Technics , modifies private, corporate and Head of State aircraft for clients worldwide. In response to a name change to Aspire and plans for a site visit by the new owner, GDC hired Painters USA to paint the company logo on a large exterior wall of the facility, an aircraft hangar. The wall was constructed in concrete with a pattern composed of indented seams.
The logo was not complicated, involving two colors and a combination of straight line and curved shapes.
The stencil process of logo painting
Painted logos begin with a stencil that is created to meet the specifications of the client’s logo design standards. In this case, the stencil was made and applied to the surface by a 3rd party. Our job was to use the stencil to commence painting.
Upon inspection, the Painters USA team from our Dallas office determined that the placement was substandard, which would have resulted in substandard results. The exact location changed to a lower position on the wall, and that lower placement combined with a very large stencil meant that the finished, painted logo would have been unacceptable, both to the client and to Painters USA.
For the client, time was of the essence, as it included the upcoming owner site visit, so redoing the stencil was not an option. In addition, removal of the stencil also removed some of the existing paint, as the existing paint was already failing slightly.
For the Painters USA team, customer satisfaction and quality outcomes are always key goals.
Solution? One of our experienced team members determined that he would be able to hand-paint the logo, as the image was not overly intricate and it involved only 2 colors in 2 separate and distinct sections. With guidance from the stencil company and working freehand, he was able to create a perfect logo that met both client needs and quality expectations.
Logo painting begins with a stencil
Because of the size and highly-detailed specifications, most logo painting projects involve the use of a stencil, created and cut-to-order based on official client specifications and digital artwork. Multiple colors may require multiple stencils.
The stencil is placed on the prepped surface and painted using the best application method for the situation. For large, exterior walls, the logo is generally spray painted and/or brush-rolled if needed.
The stencil may be acquired by the client, or Painters USA can help obtain a stencil or have it done as part of the work order.
The material used to create the stencil depends on client needs:
- Will the stencil be reused?
- Will it need to blend or flex to fit around a corner or other architectural details?
- Will it need to be transported to a remote / distant location?
The majority of our logo work uses acrylic or vinyl stencils, which are the most economical option for one-time use. Depending on size and whether or not the stencil will be reused, stencils can be made from sturdier materials like mylar and even galvanized steel or aluminum.
In our view, reusable stencils can be tricky, especially for the size and dimensions we typically work with. They can be quite costly to create and to transport intact to the job site, especially to rural and remote locations. That said, all costs / benefits should be balanced accordingly, depending on the circumstances.
Logo painting process
- Stencil is created and transported to the job site with other materials.
- Surface is cleaned and prepped.
- Stencil is applied to the surface.
- Priming coat is applied for guidance and a smooth surface.
- Logo is painted with brand colors using a kind of “paint by color” or “paint by number” system to ensure the right color is matched to the right area.
- Stencil is removed when paint is dry.
- Clear top coat may be applied for added protection.
The process involves other considerations that are unique to each logo painting project, including:
- Assessment and preparation of the substrate material and its current condition.
- Determining and limiting the bleed zone in order to achieve crisp, smooth edges.
- Environmental conditions for exterior projects, like exposure to UV rays.
Benefits of a painted logo
Companies generally have two options for displaying logos on a building, whether it’s an interior or exterior wall: Signage or Paint. As commercial / industrial painters, we deal with both. We have to work around signage when painting an underlying wall, either by removing and reinstalling or masking it. And of course, we paint logos and other imagery of all kinds as one of our professional services.
Painted logos are usually less expensive than having a sign created. Perhaps the biggest overall advantage to a painted logo is that it can be`easily painted over when it no longer meets needs or the building is sold or leased. No brackets are required and there will be no pieces to break or blow away due to inclement weather, vandalism, or other forces. If a painted logo is vandalized, we can usually fix it quickly and economically.
When making the choice between a physical sign or painted logo, consider the above and other factors unique to your circumstances, such as:
- How long do you expect to be at the facility?
- Do you anticipate any imminent branding changes?
- What is the nature of your business in terms of mergers and other significant changes?
A painted logo is versatile and flexible; as soon as the mark no longer meets your requirements, it can be easily painted over, leaving you with no outdated signage to manage.
Painter USA is happy to discuss your logo options and to offer an expert opinion based on our decades of commercial / industrial painting experience.