How to paint BUS STOP on a road

Filmed during an early morning in the capital by designer Tom Williams, a road painter exhibits some effortless heavy duty lettering skills

Filmed during an early morning in the capital by designer Tom Williams, a road painter exhibits some effortless heavy duty lettering skills…

According to Williams’ Vimeo page, which recently attracted the attention of Brand New, the short clip was uploaded two years ago but it remains an interesting document of some largely unseen typographic practice.

“I could see them moving down the road painting some other road signs, and knew there was supposed to be a BUS STOP sign in that spot, so I set the tripod and camera up and waited for them to start,” Williams writes on the post.

Aside from the captivating way the letters are turned out – for me the ‘S’ is the highlight, as is the way the signpainter keeps one arm behind his back – it’s impressive to see this is all done without a stencil.

There appear to be some faint chalk marks on the ground, but other than having a length of wood as an additional guide, it’s freehand work.

“They block out the area of each letter pretty roughly as you can see,” writes Williams, “then just freehand within that. No stencilling.”

According to page 106 of the Traffic Signs Manual (available as a PDF here), at a given stop the words ‘BUS STOP’ must be marked out every complete length of 12m.

(If anyone knows what kind of material is being used to paint the text onto the road surface – plastic, an epoxy? – we’d be happy to hear from you in the comments below.)

UPDATE – “Ed” in the comments says “the material used is 200ºC Thermoplastic with glass beads mixed in so as to be reflective. The thing he’s ‘drawing’ with is basically a square bucket with an edge cut off the one side, so it pours when tipped flat and doesn’t when tipped back.”

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