To coincide with Sign Painters – The Movie, due for release later this year, Princeton Architectural Press bring us Sign Painters (the book) by co-directors Faythe Levine and Sam Macon. A brief history of the hand painted sign industry told through anecdotes by those working during its heyday and those dedicated to keeping the art (and skills) alive.
It’s a book packed with eye-catching imagery and fascinating stories that bears witness to a dying craft brought on by the advent of computer technology, cheap and easily accessible typefaces and the proliferation of the die-cut vinyl sign. The result being a complete homogenization of our towns, shops and businesses; something to which I think we can all relate. It celebrates the unique, vibrant and personal work that once contributed so much to the colour and personality of communities across America, and offers a glimpse into the lives and working processes of the craftsmen behind the brush and paint. But alongside the sense of nostalgia is a positive suggestion that there is a resurgence coming for the hand painted sign. Like tattooing or illustrated poster art, there is something innately cool about what these artists do and surely any business today wanting to make a difference would like a piece of that, hopefully waking up to the realisation that to best communicate with a human you need another human, not a computer. A special mention has to go the reproduction of the Wagner’s Sign and Show Card lettering manual at the end of the book, a great touch and a fascinating read in itself. Highly recommended.
To find out more about the documentary visit the blog at http://signpaintermovie.blogspot.co.uk Fingers crossed this will see a decent release across the UK.