Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Designing the Coors Light Silver Bullet Engines

I was contacted recently by Mike Carter of Mike Carter Studio Inc.. He read my blog posts on the Coors Light Silver Bullet Express. Mike designed the graphics for the two engines used on the Express. He was given an "elevation" of the engine, basically the layout of the engine's sides, and designed the graphics to fit around the various windows and vents and hatches and so forth.

At least two versions of the graphics were done. Part of the reason for the second version was to put the engine number under the windows. It was not known until the day before the wrap which engines were to be used, so they had numbers printed up to be applied on top of the area.

Here's the version 1 diagram done by Mike. The lead engine is on top and the trailing engine is shown on the bottom.

Compare that to what VIA 6445 actually wore.
VIA 6445 Coors Light
There are several changes apparent. The numbers were not shown on the version 1 diagram, and the logos applied to the engines ended up being different than the version 1 diagram.

It was also not known whether they would get a two or three headlight engine to lead, so the design had to be flexible enough to handle both options. As it happens VIA 6445 had three headlights. Mike Photoshopped the Coors Light nose onto a photo of VIA 6424 to test the look.
Photoshop of Coors Light logo on nose of VIA 6424, by Mike Carter

Mike generated huge (1.3 GB) files which were supplied to Molson and then sent to Toronto Digital Imaging to be printed on the vinyl transfer. TDI does very large format printing, and has done work for GO Transit in the past, producing bi-level wraps for CIT, Enbridge, and Ontario Power Generation.

TDI also did the actual application of the vinyl transfer onto the engines. You can see the transfer in this video.

Note the blank space for the engine numbers under the engineer's window at about 0:45 in the video!

The smaller Coors logos that were applied to every other car in the Silver Bullet Express were created by the design team at Molson/Coors in Toronto.

Thanks, Mike for giving us the story behind the engines (and for permission to tell it here). I think everyone agrees that Mike produced a very sharp looking and distinctive design.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Fascinating post, Steve, and good on Mike for finding your blog and contacting you. Very interesting behind-the-scenes information, and the side numbers remind me of an F-unit number board. Let's hope some non-railfans enjoyed seeing the train as much as we did, and that this consist will go down in VIA history like the Diet Pepsi Express.