As more and more people place greater and greater importance in a digital presence, remnants of the old ways of communicating begin to take on an appeal that’s hard to deny.  A case in point is the trade of hand-painted signs. One can argue that the heyday of hand-lettered signs was between the 1930’s through to the 1970’s. In this period, most forms of outdoor advertising was hand-done. The trade saw a steep decline in the 1980’s with the advent of cheap-and-fast digital vinyl lettering. The advances in desktop publishing and large format inkjet printers in the new millennium almost completely killed the trade. Almost.

Today, hand lettered signs are seeing a resurgence. Perhaps it’s the imperfect way that the typography is rendered that gives it a connection to the ‘human’ that created the forms in the first place. Perhaps it’s the realization of the immense skill involved in rendering the composition on the fly without the safety net of ‘undo’ and spellcheck (a requirement with me). Either way, the message is instantly removed from the cold, clinical look of most street-level advertisements cluttering our field of vision on a day-to-day basis. It’s has an appeal that connects to the public precisely because it’s slightly imprecise and unique. Not unlike the difference between the real and personal connection shared with friends in real life, as opposed to the cold and sterile interactions that we have online with our internet ‘friends.’

From the local coffee shops to the redevelopment of inner city properties…

I'm guessing this was done on a small scale and then scanned and enlarged to enhance the hand-done look.

I'm guessing this was done on a small scale and then scanned and enlarged to enhance the hand-done look.

Sign Samples
Sign Samples
Sign Samples
Sign Samples
Going back a ways - adverts on a refurbished barn in Inglewood.

Going back a ways - adverts on a refurbished barn in Inglewood.

A more recent example in Eau Claire.

A more recent example in Eau Claire.

This renaissance has inspired me back to one of my first loves - handwriting. Specifically, doodling out random phrases like the following.

Lewd & Crude
Filthy
Let's Get Dirty

They are just little doodles like the ones I used to draw on the edges of my notebooks during chemistry class in high school.

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