PPG Imaging Awards

 
Green, green… and green again

Green, green… and green again

PPG Imaging Awards

 December 2020   

For 20 years, Don Wilson drove and ran green trucks for Pukekohe-based fresh produce growers Balle Brothers – helping the company diversify into livestock transport.

Even when the livestock operation was spun-off into a separate company – Balle Brothers Livestock Transport – the trucks stayed in exactly the same laurel green/asparagus green Balle Bros colours.

So when that was replaced by a new company – with a new name, a new ownership structure (with Don holding a half-share) and a new colour scheme, he came up with some very different ideas for the primary colour on the eight-strong fleet….

And still ended up opting for a lighter shade of the same Balle Brothers green!

The funny thing is, green isn’t even his favourite colour: “No it isn’t actually, but….yeah, it has grown on me over the last 25 years!” he laughs.

So what is his favourite colour?: “Oh probably blue.” But that, he confirms, was never up for consideration for his OnRoad Transport livestock fleet: “Nah, there’s too many blue units out there.”


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For 20 years, Don Wilson drove and ran green trucks for Pukekohe-based fresh produce growers Balle Brothers – helping the company diversify into livestock transport.
Even when the livestock operation was spun-off into a separate company – Balle Brothers Livestock Transport – the trucks stayed in exactly the same laurel green/asparagus green Balle Bros colours.
So when that was replaced by a new company – with a new name, a new ownership structure (with Don holding a half-share) and a new colour scheme, he came up with some very different ideas for the primary colour on the eight-strong fleet….
And still ended up opting for a lighter shade of the same Balle Brothers green!
The funny thing is, green isn’t even his favourite colour: “No it isn’t actually, but….yeah, it has grown on me over the last 25 years!” he laughs.
So what is his favourite colour?: “Oh probably blue.” But that, he confirms, was never up for consideration for his OnRoad Transport livestock fleet: “Nah, there’s too many blue units out there.”
The process of deciding on the company colours arose six years ago, when OnRoad Transport (ORT) was formed by Jim Balle and Don.
Don didn’t set out with the intention of maintaining some sort of continuity with the Balle Brothers’ green-based colour scheme – in fact, he says, he had three possible colours in mind.
The first was a chocolatey, goldenish metallic brown colour that he’d spotted on a Volkswagen ute, the second was a nice charcoal or gunmetal grey…while the third was the lighter shade of the already-quite-light green that the Balle Bros fleet wore.
But really, the brown and the grey options were dismissed as non-contenders: “In the end, nah – I decided that the plain colour, non-metallic, was best.
“In the environment we work in, if you can keep a truck simple to repair and maintain, that’s best. At the end of the day they’re a working truck – not a show truck.”
He was already well aware that the Balle Bros green was good for not showing dirt too badly, when the trucks (inevitably) got grimy.
The lighter green ORT colour – more like a tea green, chartreuse or light olive, when you try to match it on a colour chart – has turned out to be even better at that, Don reckons: “Yeah, even when they’re dirty, they’re still presentable, you know. 
“Certainly, it still shows the cow-shit, but it doesn’t show the dust and the road grime. You lose the gloss, but you keep the colour.”
The livery, which earns OnRoad Transport the honours as this month’s finalist in the PPG Transport Imaging Awards, was pieced together by Don and (then) wife Sandra, Tuakau signwriter John Moulden and Mount Maunganui truck signage specialist Cliff Mannington.
First, coming up with the right company name proved elusive: “Yeah, we came up with all sorts of different names and couldn’t come up with the right one.” Then Sandra Wilson suggested OnRoad Transport… “I just said yep.”
On to the logo – and Moulden, owner of The Sign Shed in Tuakau, worked with Don to come up with the distinctive ORT logo, which comprises the outline of a black fern on a white oval – with a white line along the stem of the fern and ORT in golden yellow.
“Ahh, that took quite some time…probably a couple of weekends. Like, we’d go over it on his computer and then he’d go away and come back with a couple of different options.
“It took a bit of time…. You just keep narrowing it down until you decide – ‘yep, that one there.’ ”
Mannington’s Truck Signs was brought on board – designing the standout striping treatment for the green cabs and the grey stock crates – when ORT owner-driver Peter Thompson became the first to put a truck (a brand-new Kenworth K200) into the new colours.
Wilson was happy to leave Thompson and Mannington to come up with the concept for the stripes – with one primary stipulation: That it all had to be in vinyl – for the easy and inexpensive touchup of scrapes and scratches that livestock units are vulnerable to. 
Mannington came up with ribbon-like lime green, dark green, silver and white striping that zig-zags along the sides of the cabs and stock crates – rising from a fine point beside the grille. 
Don okayed the striping design: “Peter showed it to me and I was more than happy with it. But I didn’t want the cab as busy on my own ones.”
Mannington did the stripes on the first three or four trucks in ORT colours – Kenworths and Don’s DAF XF105 – and since then Moulden has done a few, as has  Diverse Graphics in Whakatane…on secondhand trucks repainted by Haddock Spraypainters.
New Kenworths and DAFs are factory painted in the company’s green….which at Kenworth is registered as “Peter Thompson Green,” since he was the first to have a truck painted in it. 
Don declares himself “pretty happy” with the ORT fleet’s colour scheme. 
And yes, he confirms, looks are “all-important. I think that image that you portray when the truck drives in the gate, and the driver gets out and he looks presentable and the gear’s presentable, the crates are workable and clean and tidy and everything…it’s an image we should be portraying.” 
These days the colour scheme is worn by 11 company-owned trucks and another six owner-driver units – the lineup primarily comprising DAFs and Kenworths, but also including Scanias, one Volvo…with a Hino soon to be added.  

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