The Lost Art of Hand Lettering

April 10th, 2015 by Dan Marquis

hand-lettered-boat-transom-board

This is a small sign, only 28 inches long. It’s a mahogany transom board for a small sail boat. It may not seem like much of a sign, but what you may not realize is that this is not vinyl lettering, like most of what you see today. This sign was lettered by hand, with a brush and paint.

Now, we are not strangers to vinyl lettering; that’s actually what we do mostly. However, sometimes a job calls for hand lettering. The customer came into the shop with this panel that he had already made himself. He was naming his boat, which he had restored himself, after the orphan child in the Popeye cartoons; because, as he said, the boat had been an orphan. He had put a lot of sweat and love¬† into the restoration, and he wanted the sign to reflect the character of his labor of love… computer-cut vinyl lettering wouldn’t do; it just didn’t seem to fit. He wanted the old world craftsmanship of a hand painted sign. We were happy to oblige.

So we discussed styles and colors and after seeing a few layouts, he picked one and said “go for it”. When he picked it up two days later he was ecstatic. It was just what he had envisioned. And we had another happy customer.

 

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