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Celebrating a Craft


After reading the brief I’ve gathered my research and ideas for this project.


  • Celebrate Traditional Signwriting
  • Rebrand The NEC Sign Show
  • Type Setting
  • Upholstery
  • Grafitti
  • Compare traditional signwiriting wit hthe modern industry



What would you say the hardest part of signwriting is?

Getting used to a brush. Getting used to the flow of a brush can confuse you sometimes. It can drag in places, then the paint drags and it can actually ruin your artwork. That’s really hard to get used to. It just means that if you don’t get that drag, you get those sharp edges then if you look at against the light, it looks almost like it’s vinyl. You’re essentially trying to get it as clean as possible but also as sharp as possible.

To transfer the design onto the vehicle (or sign) you have to get your hands mucky. A batch of chalk is mixed up (secret recipe, apparently) and left to set. Then the design is drawn onto tracing paper and placed on a board. A pinwheel is then run over the outline of each letter or shape, perforating the tracing paper, and the tracing paper carefully taped into position on the side of the vehicle. The chalk mix is then gently rubbed on the tracing paper which is then removed to leave a feint chalk outline in dots to be painted. This is far from precise so the Signwriter will have to understand the arcs and angles of each letter to be painted to make it look perfect. This takes some time of course and as an added challenge it is often done when standing on some ancient wooden plank and trestles, accessed by a ladder, a set-up with less structural integrity than an Ikea bookcase.

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Exploring the Print Show @ NEC Birmingham

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