Cafe signs come in all kinds of designs & styles which is good for signwriters. It leads to a lot of differing typography & surfaces to paint on. This client was one ideally suited for this. They requested vertical signage onto brickwork for the entrance to their converted house cafe/coffee shop based in East London.

The Premises had been a local lycamobile shop which was the reason for the iron shutters on the windows. Just a new lick of paint made the property far more presentable. Originally it was requested to produce a fascia for it too & to have the company name & descriptive words on it, which I felt would’ve really made a difference & make it look quite smart. I produced a mock up for them which they really liked.

As you can also see the shop previously was quite an eyesore, as many of these lycamobile shops tend to be.

I tried to tone in the front door colour so it didn’t seem as obvious it hadn’t been painted from when it was the lycamobile shop. So I added the idea of coachlines bullet points in blue. They liked the whole idea but didnt have the funding for all the cafe signs that had been designed, as they were a start up & unsure how it would go & wanted to get some trade under their belts first. So they chose to just have the wording on the brickwork either side of the entrance door.

The layout for the cafe signs were produced on paper first, as it always best to do the design before being on site, so you can get the design more acurate, but also when painting on brick a pounce pattern is the easier method as sketching on brick with pencil is generally problematic.

The brickwork was pretty worn which helped as it meant the surface was actually quite smooth compared with a lot of brickwork. The design layout was easy to see & meant more simple to paint & get straight edges.

The shadow was painted first. This isn’t always the case but on this occasion it was the easier way to produce a nice crisp finish.

The fill of the lettering was produced with an off white. It still looks white against the blues, but it covers far better than brilliant white & lends itself better to hand painting as well. It could’ve been painted with a big wide chisel signwriting brush but care was taken to get neat edges throughout, so the lettering was built up in strokes instead.

┬áThe cafe signs lettering completed, with just the coachlines to add. This wasn’t as easy as it seems. Not only were the 2 pillars a different width but also one was actually tapered, which left the decision of either keeping the coachlines staright & hope the tapering of the pillar didn’t notice or to taper the coachlines & hope that didn’t notice!

the unstraight painted divide between the premises & the neighbouring one didn’t help but in the end the coachlines asssited to not only tone in the front door to the cafe signs, but also make the signs look straight & the paintwork & pillars its painted on look less straight , which seemed to be the better option. This completed the work on what was a bitterly cold windy day.

The clients were really happy with how the cafe signs turned out given their surroundings & diffiuculty in improving what they had.

Traditional & Contemporary Hand Painted Sign Writing in London

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