Mural Design FAQs


Mural Design FAQs

when people look at a beautiful mural it releases endorphins that allow them to have a positive memory of the space (especially if it's one they can interact with). Murals are the perfect Instagram bait, and free AdvertisEment for years to come. good ones help relay a message or strengthen businesses & communities through engagement and establishes a strong sense of place.

at the end of the day when people see Murals they see art first, AD second.



Where can I see your mural work?

Check out the mural we painted in the John Hancock Building in downtown Boston, or this striking black and white chalk ink design created for Fidelity Investment Headquarters in Boston, or this 50 foot hand lettered typographic chalk design for SONOs Headquarters. You can also find many more smaller commissioned projects on our Instagram page @Refinery43. Don’t forget to give us a follow and stay up to date on our latest work!



How much will this cost?

Please let us know the square footage of your project when you inquire (photos and architecture renderings are best.) While most projects can range anywhere from 2k to 20k because there are a lot of factors that go into calculating the cost. Prices vary depending on the scale, amount of detail, wording, material and deadline. All of our typographic murals are hand lettered — and because of the perfectionists we are, this can take time. Also, the tighter the deadline, the more of a crew we require. (Do note, we have a $500 project minimum).



How does payment work?

We ask for a 50% deposit to hold your project in our queue. The remaining amount is due upon project completion (+ any additional costs incurred like travel, additional staff and/or materials.) You’ll be emailed an invoice which will allow you to pay with a credit card or bank transfer. 50% will be due upon completion of the project.



Can you start tomorrow?

We’d love to, but the short answer is no. The more notice you provide us the higher likelihood we’ll be available for your project (if time is of the essence, don’t hesitate to get in touch because we may be able to tackle your project last minute if a current one is on hold or delayed.)



How long does a custom mural take?

Murals can range from 2-6+ days (not included time prior to meet, discuss, brainstorm and sketch). This ultimately depends on the complexity, material used (dry time), amount of wording and size of our crew.



How far do you travel?

We love the opportunity to travel where ever, whenever (seriously!) Our murals have been featured as far away as Saudi Arabia. (We will letter in any language but ask that you spell check and personally approve the design draft to ensure nothing gets lost in translation.)



What materials do you use?

This depends on the look you’re going for, surface we’re working on and permanence. We have multiple options:

  • Dustless Prang chalk — we love the impermanence of this classic material and the texture of traditional chalk. Regular chalk can come off when touched and will definitely be removed with liquid. We do not use a fixative on our murals.

  • Chalk Ink markers — for a high contrast look (without the texture) we use two brands and two types (waterproof or non waterproof). Note: While chalk ink markers does not rub off when touches they are not permanent and will come off with white vinegar. If you try to erase a chalk ink mural (waterproof or not) the design will leave a ‘ghosted image’ on most surfaces. Some clients have chosen to protect their mural with a thin piece of plexiglass

  • One shot Paint — The most permanent option we have. For exterior walls and high traffic areas this is your best option. We used this paint to letter initials on luggage for AWAY in stores.

  • Vinyl decal — If price is not a factor and permanence is important, we would suggest the design be printed and professionally applied vinyl wallpaper.


What is your process?

Step 1. Our process starts with you! What’s your vision? We love to see your inspiration. Don’t know where to start, no worries! We’ll help figure out an appropriate typographic style for your audience and offer some suggestions to work best in the space. We can design for any time-period or create something completely unique. Don’t know what the mural should say, we’re happy to help narrow down your ideas and offer up a few suggestions. If possible we prefer to meet on site so we’re able to review the space. (Any meetings on site are at our creative direction hourly rate + incurred travel costs.)

Step 2. Once we’re on the same page and know exactly what your mural will say we’ll sketch out 1-2 of our best ideas to share. (We’ve never shown more than this, and haven’t had to. Knock on wood we seem to always get it right on the first try.) We’ll work from the dimensions you provide. Please be as exact as possible —we’ve been given the wrong dimension’s multiple times in the past and this causes us valuable time to solve and modify — so please help us do our best to avoid any last minute adjustments once we’re on site.

Step 3. Once a rough sketch is approved we’ll create a more detailed drawing or vector rendering (especially if color is involved). From here you can review, conduct a final spell check and make minor adjustments.

Step 4. Now that we have a final design we’re set to be on site! This is where the real magic happens. Please make sure clearance has been provided and scaffolding, scissor lift or ladders are available (we bring step stools, extension cords and all necessary lettering materials) and give access to unload or a parking pass close to the wall/building. It is important the surface we’ll be working on is clean, dry and as smooth as possible.

Step 5. Our first step will be to outline the design. when possible we use a projector to project the sketch onto the surface — if the space doesn’t allow for this then we will measure the design to scale and freehand. A regular pencil or white chalk pencil works best to outline the design before we go in with paint, chalk or chalk ink markers. Once the outline is complete we’ll start bringing your mural to life! At this point in the project feel free to take a time lapse, invite people to watch the process or grab a photographer to take content for your social media feed. (Tagging us is always greatly appreciated!)