March 13, 2013

Be Inspired by Sign Painters

Many of you may know I started my career in the sign business and got to work alongside several of the same types of guys featured in this movie. Vinyl cut letters had already begun to take hold so I didn't get to "drag" a brush as much as I'd have liked, but I did get to do enough hand lettering and pin-striping to fall in love with the craft. I was fortunate enough to work with, watch and learn from the world-class masters in my region - Warren Schella and Brian Hansen at the top of that list.

If you ever want to "really" understand typography, layout, kerning, colour, white space, etc... talk to an old sign painter.

I can't wait to see this movie and have already ordered the book.

There was a time, as recently as the 1980s, when storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards, and even street signs were all hand-lettered with brush and paint. But, like many skilled trades, the sign industry has been overrun by the techno-fueled promise of quicker and cheaper. The resulting proliferation of computer-designed, die-cut vinyl lettering and inkjet printers has ushered a creeping sameness into our landscape. Fortunately, there is a growing trend to seek out traditional sign painters and a renaissance in the trade.
In 2010 Directors Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, with Cinematographer Travis Auclair, began documenting these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Sign Painters, the first anecdotal history of the craft, features the stories of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States. The documentary and book profiles sign painters young and old, from the new vanguard working solo to collaborative shops such as San Francisco’s New Bohemia Signs and New York’s Colossal Media’s Sky High Murals.
SIGN PAINTERS a documentary by Faythe Levine & Sam Macon. For information regarding screenings, and other news please visit

~Thanks for pointing me to this Steve M.