Ian Hutchinson is the master of race car liveries. Just think of the impact of the iconic Silk Cut and Castrol Jaguars, the 7-Up, Sasol and Benson & Hedges F1 Jordans, the Mild Seven F1 Renaults, or the Virgin/Marussia cars…

When we were contemplating the livery for STAY GOLD, there was only one man to turn to. Ian had in the past came up with some wonderful work for our stillborn UK and world propeller water speed record projects.

He counsels adherence to certain principles. Sponsorship is often sold on television viewing fi­gures and media exposure, and he believes that many marketeers make the mistake of failing to appreciate his first principle: ‘It’s not what you see in reality, it’s what you see on TV.’

The concept behind his creations is like a jigsaw puzzle: ‘Fi­rst you have to have the border in place, that’s the linear drawing of the machine; then comes the placement of the sponsor logos. Then the bodylining can be created. The end result will be a puzzle that ­fits and a livery that works.’

Corporate manuals often place restrictions on how a logo can be applied and do not easily facilitate sponsorship applications, and he has faced many obstacles in the past until the principles have been illustrated. Colour and the visual appearance of the logo are critical and more often than not, enhancement techniques are required for greater visual impact.

Remember the initial gold colour of the B&H Jordans in 1996, which reflected the cigarette brand’s packaging? He was obliged to use that initially but it plain didn’t work on television. Nor did a matt sandy hue. At his suggestion the cars subsequently appeared in bright yellow, under the Buzzin’ Hornets and Bitten and Hisses schemes, and looked all the better for it.

Ian was the ­first livery designer to maximise the concept of ‘keylining’ a logo; the fi­rst to introduce the enhancing ‘drop shadow’; and he conceived the concept of the ‘3D float-off’ effect. An early culmination of this was the logo he generated for Mild Seven, the title sponsor of the Renault F1 team in 2005 and ’06, which was the most prominent logo in F1 in each season (source: FIA Official TV viewing figures).

‘When David fi­rst emailed me regarding his UK land speed record challenger STAY GOLD and supplied an original visual concept,’ Ian says, ‘it took only a few hours to recreate a concept with the colour palette.’

Ian turned around a concept drawing in a matter of hours, applying his concept of the ‘3D’ enhanced ‘float-off’ logo, and supplied a version using the original AirAsia logo as well. There was no comparison, or doubt which one really stood out. The beauty of what he created, and how fast he did it, were typical of the way he does business. He gets totally engaged, and produces genius work in double-quick time.

During the next week or so we fine-tuned the design, then we ordered all of the stickers from Crea8ive Graphics in Bishop Auckland. On August 21 Cre8ive’s Michael Stainthorpe travelled all the way down from Bishop Auckland to Kemble in his ‘Batmobile’ van and did a brilliant job stickering up STAY GOLD. It was cool when as we honed the livery via email – and Ian was the world’s most patient man in that process as time and again he made small changes! And it was like watching our dream open up to life like a flower as Michael made the electronic images we had discussed become reality before our eyes. A fantastic moment.

‘From Formula 1 to football, rugby, golf, cricket or any televised sporting event, I ­find it so frustrating when a sponsor’s logo could gain far greater TV and media exposure via design,’ Ian says. ‘That’s why I am really happy with the effect achieved with STAY GOLD, and delighted to be involved with David’s UK land speed record challenge.’

Almost as delighted as we are. Give him a try; he can’t be recommended highly enough.

The original Road Zombie livery:

Road Zombie livery

Team AirAsia STAY GOLD designs:

Developed designs

The car repainted and ready for decals:

The car repainted

The application of decals to STAY GOLD:

Applying the graphics

And the finished product: