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 • 67 of the work in vinyl, but the name of the company was hand lettered in light gray with an airbrushed edge. Many times he will hand letter a logo on vellum, scan it and cut it in vinyl. That gives the project a hand-wrought aspect, he says. He believes that digital printing doesn't always make perfect signs. "I see a lot more bad digital prints than I see good digital prints as far as truck lettering goes. Legibility has been lost to some extent. Some of that can be blamed on the fact that the majority of people coming into the trade over the last 15 years are not serving apprentice- ships," he says. "I'm not a snob about technology or a snob about hand lettering. There is no glory in getting paint out from under your fingernails at the end of the day. A good design can come from the Sharpie market, lettering quill or a mouse but … I think the industry has suffered because of a lack of mentoring and apprentice- ship and their use of design and negative space," Briskie says. He adds that he probably makes bet- ter money throwing vinyl or painting motorcycles but, "I hand letter because I love to hand letter. I'm still fascinated by letter forms." Steven Vigeant, owner of Oakland, California-based Berkley Signs, considers himself more of a wall dog, someone who does wall painting in the industrial style. "I've been thinking of it as technical mural painting because a lot of times the artwork is very determined and it is not about my personal style. My personal style has become exactly what a designer wants. I use the computer a lot. It is a mixture of judgment and computer to get the image onto the wall and I'm very experienced with the actual paint- ing when it comes to that. I'm fast and tight," he says. Vigeant says he uses a lot of latex paint whereas in the past he used more oil enamel. "A lot of times I'm trying to match the designer so I plot the work out off their file, mostly considering my own judg- ment on how to do it because there are a lot of ways to approach a job," he says. He uses many tools to help him hand letter, including paint mask, where the outline of letters are cut in vinyl and used as a stencil, or the tried and true pounce pattern, where a design is cut into paper using specialized tools to make a stencil. He then takes chalk and pounces on the design to leave an outline on the surface that needs to be painted. Sometimes he has to be creative with his use of paints to more closely match the color scheme of a particular paint job. He has been known to mix house paint, PPG 1Shot, Matthews brush and roll and Winsor & Newton acrylics on the same job. Vigeant still sees a demand for hand painting, but says the rules have changed a lot. Clients expect hand painters to have insurance and be really professional, he says. You have to be able to work with designers and work through the logisti- cal red tape. You also have to be a good bidder on sign projects. You can't just pull prices out of your back pocket. You have to have a set price per color or per square foot. The clock is in Pebble Beach resort and was repainted with a Mathews Brush & Roll mixture. "Sometimes clients want that indi- vidual old touch. I make the old touch differently," he says, by creating the designs using technology and then using old techniques to paint it. He says there is a new revival out there for hand painted signs and wall graphics and once people begin to see painted signs again, more of the design- ers start seeing that as an option. SDG The Tell Me the Truth wall calligraphy was done with Modern Masters metallic paint. The 4th St, Gracenote and art exhibit sign were done with latex house paint. (Photos courtesy of Steven Vigeant)

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