Barber signs are becoming more and more produced in a traditional and rustic or historic style. The whole barbering thing has come back in a big way with skin fading, pompadour, side parting styles and beard grooming being so popular. To promote this many barber shops are looking for more traditional looks with vintage wooden funiture, antique mirrors, chairs and their own dress image. So many are now turning to traditional signwriter to add to that appeal and look.
The clients had aleady gone for a contemporary look on the outside of the shop with a typical metal sign with 3d lettering lit up. Internally they had a very sleek look, but had an area with a chesterfield look sofa with a rustic brick wall backdrop. They felt incorporating a traditional barber signs look within the shop was needed. They chose to keep their branding the same as on the outside but have it hand painted on the brick work inside.
Originally the clients planned on having just white lettering on the brick, but it was suggested that a shadow painted on would assist in making the white lettering stand out a little more on the brickwork. It was also suggested that a black shadow would look a little too contrasting and that the shadow would dominate.
A visual was mocked up and shown of how it would look and that helped them decide and agree.
As can be seen the surface was as to be expected from brick, but these bricks were quite porous and more textured than regular household bricks. Due to this more skill was required in producing neat edges of the letters but also filling in all the nooks and crannies of the brickwork.
To create the neat lines of the lettering is more time consuming as its more difficult to create a flowing stroke with the brush without getting bleeds. The more the paint is thinned to create a flow the weaker the paint is on the brick and more porpous it becomes. Due to it being Barber signs and the need for regular dusting and cleaning of the wall oil based paint was prefered to water based. This avoids any streaking or fading of the paint, which water based could cause when wet cleaned.
The smaller lettering on the branding was going to be more difficult to make stand out on the texture of the wall. A more bold font may have helped, but it was kept to the original font matching the exterior barber signs. The letters were again neatly and slowly produced to keep consistant.
As much as possible the lettering was produced with single strokes using a specialist brush and that brush being of the best size to produce the single stroke lettering.
As can be seen the paint needed to stay quite thick and a fair amount loaded on the brush to be able to flow across the brick surface but care had to be taken to keep the lines as straight as possible not allowing the paint to bleed into any other cracks or crannies within the brickwork.
All the lettering in white completed completed on the wall, with the shadow colour yet to be applied. The choice was a shade of brown or a shade of burgundy, to blend into the brick a little but be dark enough to help the white of the lettering pop a little more. As it stood it looked a little on the sparse side.
The shadow was mixed using both brown and a burgundy colour. Powder was then added to make the paint less gloss and more flat finish. This helps in making the lettering more rustic, which is both ideal for vintage signwriting but also for the current trend with barber signs. This proved to be a little easier and swifter in production, perhaps due to the mix of paint but also due to there being a little less coverage required.
The clients were suprised & so pleased by the result. They said it was much better than they thought it would look. They loved that thought was taken to mix a shadow colour that not only blended with the brick but also with their waiting sofa. This is something the ability of a experienced traditional signwriter has, but vinyl or or large sign firms don’t have. They don’t generally have anyone who has that sort of painting experience or use of colours and surroundings that can be adjusted on site.
The project definitely had produced what was within the brief, which was to use their branding but give a vintage aged look despite this. The clients were so pleased with the work, they now use the wall as a backdrop to show of their own work on their customers!
Hand Painted Traditional & Contemporary Sign writing in London
Sign writer: Traditional Signs of London