Restaurant signs are slowly becoming more & more ‘rustic’, ‘classic’ or ‘chic’ by having traditional wooden panel fascias & them hand painted instead of vinyl stickers. Another to continue the trend was an Italian eatery in St Johns Wood. They requested a simple branding & style on the front of their premises. They had the branding already so had an idea of how they wanted it to look.

The clients actually overlooked that they had a perminant awning made from angled timber & covered in slates. So on arrival, there was a glaring issue, which was access to the fascia from a ladder! Luckily the contractors who were painting the fascia boards & surrounding walls hadn’t finished their internal work & still had their mini tower. So this got assembled & a makeshift platform was screwed to the awning from the mini tower.

It was makeshift but also make do. It did mean that the whole layout & signwriting had to be done whilst lying down on the boards & this is never easy or comfortable, but it was the only solution really.

Things really were against us on this day with another unforseen issue cropping up once starting to add the signwriting. The paint wouldn’t apply to the fascia board! Its still unclear as to why, but firstly it was a blisteringly hot day & the fascia surface was facing the sun & got hot to touch. Also the paint used to cover the fascia boards was rollered on & dried really fast leaving stippling, although this isn’t usually too much of an issue. The other possibility was the type of paint used to paint the fascia boards. It was a ‘one coat’ covering water based paint & could have had some kind of rubbery or plasticy consistancy within the paint. These water based paints can now be shellac based which does make the paint slightly rubbery a texture. All the possibilites combined meant the signwriting enamel sissed & refused to take to the surface too well.

This was explained to the clients & they pleaded for the work to continue & just try to get the paint to cover & take to the fascia board. So recuctantly the work on the restaurant signs were attempted.

This was the paint the contractors had used. It may be that where it states its weather resistant, the paint has a consistancy of a ducks back & wet paint, like water is designed to not take to the surface. The contractors were insistant that it wouldn’t be the problem, but in my experience, I’ve never had it occur before & am still convinced these new paint products are ‘ideal’ for outdoor surfaces to be painted to prevent soaking & therefore now has a wet resistance in it when dry. This includes wet paint even on a brush to create signs.

It felt like trying to paint on roofing felt. The brush had to be changed & a brush with coarse hairs more akin to a toothbrush had to be used it was like a stiff bristle fitch brush. Application was forceful & worked better if dabbed rather than stroked, which made it far more time consuming than it should’ve been. In hot weather on a roof top painting lying down, that was far from an ideal situation, but perseverance was key.

The paintbrush was from a budget- pound store type shop, but seemed to do the trick. Sometimes experience & knowledge can assist you to overcome issues that arise.

The painting was slow & difficult lying down to paint the restaurant signs. Overall the signwriting probably took twice as long as predicted but still completed within the day despite the delays & issues.

 The clients were extremely grateful & pleased the work was still possible to be completed despite the drawbacks, as they could ill afford to delay their opening much longer.

The completed restaurant signs with the mini tower unassembled. Once the clients opened & had the al fresco area added it place looked a great little eatery in the suited area of London its located, just off Abbey Road.

Traditional & Contemporary Hand Painted Sign Writing in London

Sign Writer Traditional Signs of London