Transit Graphics

Big Types. Bold colours. Arrows, circles and bars –
18 meters of advertising space, kilometre after kilometre. Truck tarps are oversized business-cards, only rarely developed by professional designers. Mainly designed by the transport companies themselves. But that’s what makes the often unusual results so fascinating.

The transport industry has developed its own style. An endless road-movie of rough graphics, travelling displays on their never-ending journey to faraway destinations. Exotics and familiars gather at the truck stops, inviting viewers on a visual journey around the world.

Set apart from trends and fashions, apart from visual norms, tarps have become a creative noman’s-land. Tarps are primitive and original. That’s what makes them unique. »Here nothing is perfect, but everything’s real.«

But tarps are changing. New technologies allow covering the large spaces with intricate 4-colourprints. So more and more breweries, automobile manufacturers and other international companies use truck tarps for advertising. Motives from ad campaigns are adapted to the new medium, catch our attention from the right and even follow us to our holiday destinations. Small shipper companies are in danger of losing their distinctive individuality. Their unique, visual messages are lost in a sea of standardized advertising.


TRUCK & TYPE is an inventory, a survey of current graphics on truck tarps. Its aim is to establish an archive for the conservation of typical forms and symbols, that shows the developments and changes that have occurred over the years. This work created a rich fund of forms and symbols, a possible source of inspiration for other projects. So TRUCK & TYPE can be considered as a work of reference, too.

TRUCK & TYPE was developed in the course of a final year project at the Bauhaus-University Weimar. In this research the collected graphics were analysed according to different criteria. The focus was especially on the social, cultural, economical and technological influences that helped to shape the appearance and image of truck companies.

  • Which colours, forms, fonts and symbols are used?
  • What are the local peculiarities and how are international influences incorporated in them?
  • What impact does the ongoing globalization have on the appearance of an industry that helped establish it and profits enormously from it?

The Photos are showing the colourful tarps in their familiar surroundings: On the highway, at the truck stop, during the loading and unloading and other workings. offers a stage for all friends of international »Transitdesign«. Everybody is invited to take pictures of extraordinary truck-graphics and add them to the online-collection. Here you can upload your photos, take a look at the heavyload-graphics in the gallery and make your comments on the trucks you like.

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Keep on trucking!