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  • Writer's pictureSarah Sturm

School Bus Wrap Design

This project started with a small bus and a lot of rust. At first we were all unsure of how this moving art piece would go, both in form and function, but as they say, "you don't know until you try"... and try we did! We're pretty stoked we did because it's one of our coolest projects we've designed.

Behind the Art

This design started with some key priorities, color, nature, art, and place. Our concept was a combination of all of those pieces. We traced the horizon line of some significant locations to Sarah, those being - The Sandia Mountains (Albuquerque, NM), The Toiyabe Range (Austin, NV), Canyon Lands, UT, San Juan Mountains (Durango, CO). Each range has a personal significance in Sarah's life, we overlapped those bold line interpretations and noticed there was some cool space and shapes between the lines that we could explore. We went through a plethora of ideas for those spaces and ultimately landed on color. Big, bold color. So we found some bright but natural looking colors and started patching them into those spaces, the result was a sort of abstract rainbow explosion! And we loved it.

The placement of this rainbow was possibly the most important part of this project. We knew it was going to have to mesh with the rounded corners of a very square bus, it needed to work with a limited amount of space (hence the over the window placement) but also keep a nice balance of color and negative space. We wrapped the design from the back all the way beyond the sides and onto the front. We wanted it to look intentional yet abstract.

The background color evolved over the span of the project. We knew it needed to be neutral to balance out the bright colors. But we didn't want to be TOO trendy, so we nixed the original idea of the "cool guy sandy sage" color and went with a lighter, brighter stock vinyl color that our local wrap company, Elements Media, was able to track down. We were beyond pleased with how well it complimented the bright colors of the design.

There is always a moment of surrender with these types of projects. We started the design at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, it went through so many iterations and versions in conjunction with some vinyl setbacks and the fact that we were wrapping a rusty 1998 school bus. When push came to shove at the end, you just have to "press go" and hold your breath!

Finally, we exhaled. And that exhale turned into cheers and high-fives a few weeks later when we went to pick the bus up. We couldn't be happier with how it turned out and the hard work put in from both our team and Elements Media! Thank you to all and we can't wait to see this bad girl on the road!

Thank you!

A special thank you to Austin and Anthony at Elements Media, they took on this project graciously and put so much hard work into making it look absolutely perfect! We want to note how tough of a process it is to put giant vinyl stickers onto an old rusty bus and these guys did an amazing job. Sorry for all of the stained rags and broken screws, we owe ya lots of beer!

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