In 1985, my boss asked me to design and build an exhibition stand for a rather prestigious marketing show. I found some talented graffiti artists, to create an exhibition entitled; ‘Streetwise Marketing from ***********’. I have left the name of the company blank for obvious reasons.
The other exhibitors and our clients loved the exhibition but I nearly got fired. My boss hated it.
My old boss would be amazed today, that graffiti artists like Banksy are millionaires. It was not so much that I love graffiti, in fact 90% of it is wanton vandalism and has little artistic or cultural value. I do though have an enduring passion for old Sign painters and their incredible skill, in creating bespoke signage.
In the modern age, we use Digital Prints, on self adhesive vinyls and computer aided routers. it’s easy to forget, that, before digital printing, most signs were created by hand, by highly skilled craftsman, using centuries-old principles of visual communication. Before Digital Signage and even Multi-media decimated the industry, professional sign painters were numbered in the tens of thousands, not hundreds, like today.
Wired magazine, featured a fascinating article on this incredible industry and a wonderful book has just been published. The book has some beautiful photographs, such as the one illustrated here.
You can find the article at http://www.wired.com/design/2012/10/sign-painters/.
I hope you read the article and appreciate the incredible skill and dedication of these artisans.
My name is Steve Howard. You have been reading the Digital Circus.