Once upon a time I was walking along Market Street. It was early morning – about 6.30am. The air and atmosphere was wonderful as the city was waking up.
I saw a man. He was a painter-man. He was a sign painter man – probably the last one on earth.
He had – by hand – drawn the most beautiful graphic upon a shop facia you would ever hope to see.
He then begin to paint it in by hand with a $1,000 brush which hugged every border. It was astonishing so I gave him my questions.
He said that he was a full time signwriter (by hand). He said that computerisation was killing him off.
Well, he’s long gone now, and so is his sign on Market Street.
I like old hand painted signs but they don’t do them anymore. Yes they fade and yes they need maintenance but they give a patina which is pleasant.
Signs tacked on with a sheet of tin not only give you the lettering of the business but also a large rectangular backplate. Direct lettering means there is less unnecessary or non-essential elements forming part of the picture.
Most shopping centres have signage which is three dimensional – the letters are tacked on one by one to spell the business name. This avoids the ‘big backplate’ issue.
The below picture is indicative of the change in retail design materials over the years. The building is a Class A heritage one, but I can see the old signage hasn’t been restored (even if it is only a 1980s sign).
Signage is something that slips through the net at most local governments. But there’s so much to gain from high quality signage that some guidance and/or regulation will give a beautiful effect throught the city.
Shopping centres know this – high quality signage is a must there.
Film and Television Institute (WA) Inc, 92 Adelaide Street, Fremantle, Australia (Cantonment Street frontage)