Nowadays a hand-lettered sign means the shop owner or landlord was too lazy or cheap to pay for something professionally printed. Though they hardly qualify as signs, you know what I’m talking about: an apartment number scrawled on a door in permanent marker, a no-name 99-cent store sign hastily painted on the wall over the entrance or an ice cream truck with poorly rendered images of Winnie the Pooh and Tweety Bird.
Sure, these have their charms, but this means of signage is usually a last resort. Only in the US’ oldest cities can you still find remnants of those glorious hand-painted signs that adorned whole sides of buildings, advertising tinctures or tailor-made shirts and pants. Peter Vogel of the Portland-based Nutmegger Workshop is bent on bringing back the old ways with his vintage-style sign art. Most of his work is custom and everything is hand-crafted from wood and then painted by hand. He gets his inspiration from old signage which he often references in his work, like the “weathered sign that still hangs above an old shuttered tea room in London’s Camden borough” or the “great old sign on a country barn in France” ( both pictured below). You can even contact Vogel to commission your own.
designer: peter vogel