It may seem a bit ironic to post this now that all our American readers are still digesting the copious amounts of food from last night (or constructing epic sandwiches with the leftovers) – happy Thanksgiving by the way. Here’s a nice video short documenting the lettering on a food truck owned by Tim Van Dyke of Lunch Restaurants in Ottawa, Ontario. Van Dyke hired Alan Gustafson to do all the metal work for the Lunch truck. When they went searching for someone to design the exterior Gustafson contacted his good friend Luke Norrad. Taking inspiration from ingredients and items from the menu the sign painter transformed the pristine white truck into a one-of-a-kind traveling display of hand lettering.
Luke Norrad | “Creatively, this project was a real joy to work on. The client was originally looking for something in a graffiti style done with spray paint, as I’ve dabbled a bit in that, but I thought we could come up with something that fit their brand a bit better. I had been reading a lot about Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnase at the time so my idea was to do an homage to their Gastrotypographicalassemblage with items from the Lunch menu. They loved the idea and let me take that concept where I wanted. Even the yellow Lunch script is the result of asking whether something other than the original logo (which is more angular) could be used as the focal point. Generally, clients are nervous about using anything beyond their regular branding but Tim got it right away.”
Luke Norrad | “I wanted to have relatively simple lettering that would read well from across the street or when driving by. This cut out a lot of fancier scripts or letters with overly thin proportions right away. The challenge was getting everything to fit together while maintaining a balance. There are some literal interpretations of the ingredients within the lettering (pig, tomato), but I wasn’t too strict about it. Sometimes the space dictated the style of the lettering and sometimes it was the other way around. The Lunch script itself came from my love for super thick seventies style scripts.”
While the hand lettering obviously is original, it is fun to discover which typefaces Luke was inspired by. The “super thick seventies style script” used for the yellow ‘Lunch’ references type designs like Candice, Charade, Lazybones, Casey Ultra, and so on. Other scripts on the truck are deeply rooted in the sign painters’ tradition and show cards. Interestingly two words employ a reversed contrast – ‘Relish’ almost fooled me into thinking it was Jackson, and ‘Chorizo’ owes to the Italian styles from the 19th century. Some skyline sans faces manage to cram more letters in a narrow space, while the strict square designs reminded me of Jim Parkinson’s FF Moderne Gothics and Hotel. There are also winks to Tuscan wood types and Bauhaus-like geometric sans serifs.