Reading The Drum’s magazine this week, we were particularly taken with the article titled ‘brushstrokes, not keystrokes’ discussing the resurgence of handpainted signs as a move away from ink printed signs, which have dominated much of the high street over the past few years. “Before long the Victorian facades of our city centres were buried beneath the incongruous backlit signage of big-box stores and fast-food chains- a saturation of plastic and vinyl that led to high-street bleeding into indistinguishable high street,” O’Neill wrote of the trend. However, the hand painted signs seem to be making a come back as these high street stores seem to be bored of ‘bleeding’ into other stores, as they wish to take back some individuality. Pret A Manger, for instance have now made a move to use hand painted signs on their exprosed brick surfaces. James Cannell, Pret’s creative director spoke to The Drum, “we pride ourselves on our natural handmade food and coffee, so handpainted signs and graphics felt like a very good fit.”

Market Town Taverns, who we have recently built a holding page for, until their new website is built, boast hand painted signs on their bar walls, you can see on the screenshot below, they have hand painted text and logos on their exposed brick walls. The graphics seem to be inspired, like Pret, by the, “old, faded graphics in midtown Manhattan- ‘beautiful, bold and very authentic.'”

MTT photoshop

Retailers are no longer interested in conforming with the uninspired text from previous years, and instead, “are increasingly turning to sign painters to convey a sense of individuality, to stand out and communicate that their products aren’t run of the mill.” Market Town Taverns then, are telling you their food, drink, and venues, are not conventional spots, but instead, individual taverns which are standing out from the crowd in terms of their decor.

Nick Garrett, told The Drum, “you can love something loved and crafted. But you can never love a vinyl letter and so it’s seen for what it is, future rubbish. Painted letters on the other hand are future icons… nay, art.” If you’re looking to rebrand then, whether that be a shop, a restaurant, or even a chain of coffee shops, perhaps making the conversion to handwritten, handpainted signage is something you might want to consider!


(Nick Garrett’s hand painted sign for Smoked – via The Drum)