Brushstrokes not keystrokes: Why handpainted signage is making a popular return

An art form all but lost, hand painted signage is experiencing a resurgence as retailers place value in the human touch.

Image showing my first NGS apprentice Jack Hollands rolling out a superb stroke.

 

The first sign that the writing was on the wall for sign writing came in the 1980s when vinyl cutting first made an appearance and craft began to make way for computers. 

The 90s proved even more disastrous, with inkjet printers and digital design putting everything from window stickers to building wraps mere keystrokes away.

Before long the Victorian facades of our city centres were buried beneath the incongruous backlit signage of big-box stores and fast-food chains – a saturation of plastic and vinyl that led to high street bleeding into indistinguishable high street.

Vintage

Signwriter Tobias Newbigin enjoys a moment’s reflection with Nick Garrett after a  day gilding at The Vintage Guitar Shop, Shoreditch.

 

Thankfully, then, it looks like we’re finally getting bored with plastic, businesses no longer happy to just blend in with uninspired, identikit neighbours – much to the delight of traditional London sign writer Nick Garrett who dismisses modern signage as “offensive”.

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