Why Hand-Painted Signs Are Making a Comeback

March 27, 2013

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(Sign painter Chancey Curtis in Mankato, MN, ca. 1930. Courtesy of Sign Painters and Princeton Architectural Press.)

(Sign painter Chancey Curtis in Mankato, MN, ca. 1930. Courtesy of Sign Painters and Princeton Architectural Press.)

Recently on the podcast 99% Invisible, Roman Mars examined the resurgence in demand for custom, hand-painted signage. Hand-painted signage was once commonplace prior to the 1980s. The eighties brought the increased availability of digital printing on vinyl, significantly reducing the market for hand-crafted signs. But why the sudden demand now for a product that shows evidence of the artist’s touch? As Roman Mars’ writes, the ubiquity of digital text and poor design has created “an environment of anonymity and impermanence.” As a result, business are now rediscovering the value in custom, hand-painted signs and how these products differentiate one from a sea of competitors. Hand-painted signs allow for greater personalized expression, support local artists, and infuse individuality into products. To listen to Roman Mars’ podcast, Episode #74 Hand Painted Signs, visit 99% Invisible. We’ve also featured Brooklyn-based artist and sign painter Seamus Liam O’Brien on our blog in this post about creating visual resumés.
(Ken Davis and Caitlyn Galloway of New Bohemia Signs. Courtesy of Sign Painters and Princeton Architectural Press.)

(Ken Davis and Caitlyn Galloway of New Bohemia Signs. Courtesy of Sign Painters and Princeton Architectural Press.)