Sign & Digital Graphics

November '17

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • November 2017 • 65 ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL A dvances in digital graphic technologies have cut into the hand-painted sign business in the past few decades, but there are still some bright spots in the industry that will never go away, including murals, hand lettering on signs and vehicles and pin striping. "Obviously, technology has changed the sign industry as dramatically as it has any industry; however, there is strong demand for the highly valued skills that hand lettering artists perform," says Tim Lloyd, director of the Matthews division A Place for Paint Although technology takes a chunk out of the hand-painted sign market, there's still a demand for craftsmanship Paula Aven Gladych is a freelance writer based in Denver. of PPG Industries, which manufactures 1Shot, paint that was specifically formulated for the hand-painted sign industry. "That aspect of signs, I believe, will never go away. The artistry that these craftsmen use at hand lettering any type of sign, vehicle or mural will always be appreciated by the general public; therefore it will always be in demand." But just because individuals tout themselves as hand paint- ers, doesn't mean they don't take advantage of the technology that is available. Brian "The Brush" Briskie, owner of The Brush in Rochester, New York, says he has been hand painting signs since 1979 and he has a good reputation for hand lettering and gilding. In addition to the sign shop, he also owns a large custom paint shop that also incorporates hand lettering. "I won't deny that if I were to try and survive solely on hand lettering, I wouldn't have had a phone to dial your number with," he says. "I've been doing this in excess of 35 years, so I have a strong well-established clientele base. We're not getting enough requests from new accounts to shake a stick at. We'll pick up a few here and there, a couple a month, but most of the new hand lettering work is coming from folks in the hot rod industry because there is this whole distressed lettering, retro thing that is so big in the northeast. They want to make it look like it was lettered 45 years ago." And even though he has had a steady stream of drag racers wanting him to hand letter their cars, he has lost some of that business to the car wraps industry. He still does his fair share of dragster and funny car bodies, though. "I think there will always be a market for hand lettering," he says. Eventually people will go looking for craftsmanship again, he adds. "There's something to be said for the non-sterile look of a hand-lettered truck," he says. If you look closely you can see the occasional brush stroke or you notice that the lower case Es are all slightly different, he adds. B Y P A U L A A V E N G L A D Y C H

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