When the font was finally completed I did several more blog posts on it, giving a little more background, and mentioning the Canter’s connection.
In January 2010 two things pertaining to Deliscript happened at almost precisely the same time. The first one was that I learned that Deliscript was a winner in the Type Director’s Club font design competition “TDC² 2010”. That in itself was a great source of pride for me, but the second one really blew me away: a few days later I got a call from a young woman asking me about Deliscript and if I had designed it. I subsequently found out she was a member of the Canter family, asking if I would be interested in the possibility of working on a project for the restaurant which was, at that moment, kind of a secret. It turned out that her name was Bonnie Bloomgarden, and she was the great-granddaughter of Canter’s founder Ben Canter. That’s when I started thinking “OK, this is kind of odd”. The project, I was to find out several days later when we met, was to design the graphics for a gourmet food truck that Bonnie wanted to create as an adjunct to the restaurant.
What was interesting about this whole thing was that by blogging about the font and my inspirations for it, I had set wheels in motion that would eventually bring my work to the attention of one of the yougest and most creative members of the Canter family. She and her sister Dena had Googled “Canter’s Deli” and “Font” hoping to find an interesting font that they could use to design their truck. What they found was my blog where I had written about Deliscript and how their restaurant’s neon sign had served as my initial inspiration. But she realized that rather than just purchasing Deliscript and trying to design the truck themselves, that they might achieve better results by actually hiring the designer who had found inpiration in their signage. This actually went counter to the usual route taken by Canter’s in the past, which was more of a do-it-yourself attitude (as evidenced by the multiple competing signs in front of the restaurant). Bonnie didn’t go along with the conventional wisdom that anybody with a PC could now be a designer, and that there actually is value to hiring a professional.
So in a strange and serendipitous way, my Deliscript font design project had come full circle, turning back on itself and inspiring the folks at Canters—whose sign had been the original source of my own inspiration. And what was interesting to me was that this whole scenario could not have happened without the magic of the internet and search engines.
At first I proposed doing the design on a white truck, but Bonnie felt that that didn’t have the requisite “deli” feel to it, so I came up with a color scheme that I felt reflected what she was looking for. She had approached me because of Deliscript, so I felt that it would go without saying that I would use the font for the dominant graphic elements on the truck.
After completing art of the front, back and two sides of the truck in Adobe Illustrator, the next stage was to get it printed on vinyl film and applied to the truck. Getting the art printed and the truck wrapped properly was probably the most difficult and frustrating part of this project. The company that leases the trucks is called Road Stoves, and part of the deal was that we work with SignQuest, a company that specializes in large scale printing and vehicle wraps. There was no accurate template to work with because of all the slight differences between all the Road Stoves trucks—it seemed as if no two of their trucks were alike, and nobody knew the specific truck that would be assigned to Canter’s until they were ready to wrap—an interesting Catch 22. So I could only create art which conformed to some very approximate dimensions, and had to rely on the expertise of the folks at SignQuest to make any necessary adjustments for scaling or otherwise. Well that proved to be easier said than done. It seemed as if SignQuest had never really been put to the test by a professional designer—in fact they were usually given the job of creating the art with which they wrapped most of their trucks. Sitting down with them in preparation for the printing, I was kind of surprised to see how casually they scaled and treated the vector art that I had so carefully prepared—moving things around by a kind of “guesstimation”. This was slightly horrifying to a designer like myself who is plagued with a minor case of OCD. But the “proof was in the pudding”, as they say.