A Brief Discussion of Hand Lettered Signs

Today we will briefly discussing an area of graphic design that has become a lost art, due to the advancements of technology, the hand-lettering of signs, show card, and trucks.  The art of hand lettering has been around since the  invention of written copy...from the Egyptians drawing on papyrus, the Romans chiseling into stone, or the hand-lettering of your favorite pub sign.

 Her are some examples of classic pub signs...

 Can you classify any typefaces in the above examples? Can you find examples of black face, humanist, geralde, lineale, transitional and script?

 Exterior building signage...with the use of  Geralde, Lineale-Geometric and Script typefaces.

Signage in the 20th Century

One of the many sign painters of the twentieth century is J.N. Halsted who worked in Cincinnati, OH, in the 20's and 30's

     Examples of Halsted's work,  and the exterior of his sign shop,     note the use of Gothic Black Face, Verona & Humanist, Lineale (Humanist, Geometric & Neo-grotesque) & Script.

A sign shop (Halstead's) from the 1930's and a modern shop today...and Honest Ed's in-house sign shop from the mid 1980's

Handwritten Scripts
This is my favorite category...hand written letter forms.
The nothing excites me more artistically than, a well executed script.  Each hand letterer has his own unique style, which he developed over a life time of experience...
Here you cansee a hand lettering job close-up. The artist uses his finger as a maul stick allowing his brush fingers to move more freely but maintaining stability for the strokes.

It's loose and varying width strokes are executed on this amplifier, by the owner.

On close inspection you can see that this style could be in anyones collection of favortive scripts.

 Please enjoy the video of this being exicuted below...

Some modern examples of hand lettered signage.....with some great examples of script writing which is my personal favorite form of sign lettering, as each sign writer has his own style and flare which he used to move you eye across the sign..

Notice the varying use of various uses of script and the more classic styles  Humanist , and Poster typefaces. This combined with vibrant colour and embellishments such as pinstriping and prismatic lettering,  give these sign interest and a vibrancy that is hard to match today with modern technology.

Once again Prismatic lettering and stylized script, with the use of bold colours in a complimentary palette. This style has become a mainstay in modern car trucking and car racing industry. 

Sign painters and modern fonts...many of the modern type faces which you use today were actually designed and used by some of the top sign painters of the twentieth century...these were the artist personal collection of faces that he would use each day...some of the better known designers are Halsted, Alf Becker and poster artist Rick Griffen.

Sign fonts although rarely handlettered anymore still exist.. Many of them have become popular Poster or Graphic font faces that millions enjoy using in there own art and designs.

Can you recognize some of them from the list about.

Visit this link for more examples... http://www.letterheadfonts.com/

And here is an online coarse...teaching hand lettering for signs.

I also invite you to watch some YouTube videos, demonstrating sign painters in action.

 A Sign painter's bread and butter at the time was show-cards and one off-posters. 

Notice the use of the various classifications of type faces all hand lettered....don't forget that includes graphics. 

 You you for for your time and interest in Handwritten signs...

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