CLEAN-SHEET REDESIGNS OF TRUCKING FLEETS’ liveries aren’t that common. Nor are colour schemes that exist completely unchanged for a decade and more (because little evolutionary ddles are the rule rather than the exception).
And when it’s a livery with primary colours borrowed from a popular car range, then you’re getting into the territory of unique... in the shape of Dunedin’s Icon Logistics, this month’s nalist in the PPG Transport Imaging Awards.
e eet – and its colours – are the result of the rebirth of an existing organisation: Harbour Transport had been set up in the mid-1990s as the primary freight contractor to the Port Otago company – e ectively its transport arm, though it did handle some outside work as well.
By 2006, it had grown from a couple of trucks to a eet of around a dozen, when the port’s South Freight division elected to handle all its own transport.
Faced with a drastic reduction in work, Harbour Transport’s shareholders at the time – the Dynes Group’s Peter Dynes and Dunedin transport operator Les Wilson – elected to sell all of what was an aging eet, and start from scratch with three new Fusos, a new name…. and a new image.
Out went Harbour Transport’s white and turquoise livery, to be replaced by a simple design of a dark blue above and lighter blue below, separated by an orange stripe running horizontally across the front at just above headlight height, then swooping to near the top of the truck cab at the back. Either side, the stripe carries a description of the company’s work: Container & Storage Specialists.
e design was arrived-at in a session with Timaru Signs and Graphix... and there was a Timaru element to the choice of colours as well: e Fusos had been bought through that brand’s then Timaru agent, Timaru Trucks, which had the same shareholding as Ford car dealer Timaru Motors... and the two blues were represented on the current range of sporty XR Falcons. e new company’s then operations manager, Tony Gare – now a shareholder and general manager – recalls that the design looked “right” from the word go: “As soon as they brought it up on the computer at Timaru Signs & Graphix, there was little doubt it was the one to go for.”
e name Icon had already been chosen, and was made the centrepiece of a logo that incorporates the three primary colours and adorns the doors of the trucks and, where applicable, above-cab aerofoils.
e name re ected a determination to become Dunedin’s go-to company in the specialised eld of container transport and handling that was the path chosen by its principals. e fact that the eet size has quadrupled in size
since its inception and the company’s current position as the region’s leading container transport and warehousing provider suggest that the goal has well and truly been attained – as does the fact that in 2011 South Freight moved out of transporting containers itself and took a shareholding in Icon.
Tony credits the image-making power of the package – colour scheme, name and logo – with a not inconsiderable portion of that success: “It was good to be able to establish a really strong visual identity right from the beginning. Image is everything, and that’s what we’re about – making sure we present the brand.
“Because we work for comparatively few clients, in a small sector of the market, we’re not seen by too many people. But the colour scheme is so distinctive it sticks in the memory. We regularly get comments of the sort: ‘I didn’t know who you guys were, but after seeing one your trucks the rst time, now they seem to be everywhere!’
“As you might expect, we’re well known around Port Chalmers, but it goes a lot further. For instance, in Central Otago, where we’ve been delivering to a project at Cardrona, we have developed a very strong image. e trucks are a billboard for the company.”
ere have been virtually no changes to the design in its near dozen years, he adds: “It looked sharp from the beginning, so we’ve seen no need to change.”
e fact that the Icon eet currently comprises all cabovers means that the design doesn’t have to be adjusted to match the shape of bonneted models, and though the majority of the trucks are day-cabs, sleepers are easily accommodated with a simple extension of the central orange stripe.
However, says Tony, it was also put to the bonneted test after the South Freight buy-in – in the shape of a Kenworth T400 that had come across. It passed with honour: “We were able to have the side stripe start just above headlight height, with the light blue below and the dark above... and it looked really sharp.”
Since the strength of the base design lies largely in its simplicity, there isn’t much by way of decorative touches other than some unobtrusive scrollwork on the cab sides.
Signwriting is looked after by Dunedin’s Custom Signs, while Brownlie & Scoles, also of Dunedin, handles the repainting of the vehicles that join Icon from the wider Dynes Group, plus general panel and paint work. New additions, like the DAF added to the eet last year, arrive painted from the factories.
All pictures: e livery transfers well between the predominant makes in the Icon eet....and still looked good on the one conventional that came with the South Freight buy into the business