New Destination Blind
GCT 113 is now the recipient of a new 21-yard destination blind, made by industry leaders, McKenna Brothers. The blind comprises the destination displays that were contained on blinds introduced by GCT in the mid-1980s, using the font Univers, which was used on most of GCT's publicity in the privatised era (including on its timetables and on this website). Interestingly, Univers was developed in 1957 - the year GCT was founded. I'd be interested to know if its use was either a happy coincidence or something a little more deliberate. The font is still used regularly today. A good example is the eBay logo.
I've had a couple of other destinations added to the end of the display list, which will be shown from time to time.
Dealing with McKenna Brothers was seamless - they really do know all the possible ins and outs of producing a bespoke destination blind, as well as a mass-produced one for, say, operators in London. The turnaround time isn't swift, however. Seven weeks is shown on the pro forma invoice (yes, you do need to pay up first as there is a lot of man power needed to produce a proof), though in the event the blind arrived within five weeks. One of the draw backs is that McKenna Brothers only have a limited number of fonts they can use on their original MS-DOS programme, which was developed back in the 1980s purely for the production of destination and number blinds. They continue to use it as nothing better has superseded it, though since it involves very old technology, you can't simply add a font to it.
GCT's font on the blind I was recreating was Univers Condensed Bold, but sadly this was not one of the fonts that McKenna Brothers had on their MS-DOS programme. (the original blinds were produced by Norbury Blinds, who have now gone out of business). McKenna Brothers had Univers, which was half the battle won, but condensing Univers is not the same as Univers Condensed (made bold). Lots of tinkering took place to get the font to resemble the original as closely as possible, but sadly the final product is not identical. It's not far off and quite possibly you'd never know had to not read this blog entry, but it is good enough for me.
So in tune with what their customers want, McKenna Brothers was even able to reproduce an accidental 'lazy blind' feature that was part of the original blinds. Service 16 had a destination in one direction which showed "Willows & Wybers Wood" split over two lines with "Willows &" on the top line and "Wybers Wood" on the bottom. The next display was "Asda (Hainton Square)" which was the other destination of the route. "Asda" was on the top line and "(Hainton Square)" on the bottom. Many drivers chose to position the blind so that the bottom line of the first display - Wybers Wood - was shown at the top of the display and the top line of the following display - Asda - was shown at the bottom of the display. Hey presto, "Wybers Wood Asda" would be shown, meaning the blind didn't really need to be changed all day.
Lazy and quite possibly plain wrong, but it was something McKenna Brothers were able to guarantee in their reproduction.
For anyone wanting to recreate a destination blind, you need to supply the width of the roller blind, the height and width of the destination window (that passengers will see) and the type of material the blind needs to be produced on. I was told that, due to the length of my blind, polyester would be best, though in the event it was done on Tyvek (much hardier).
I just need a ladder to remove the remnants of black tape that Stagecoach had affixed the the front of the destination blind window. They used black tape to reduce the sight dimensions of the window so destinations could be placed closer together.