|The first fire lookout tower constructed in the U.S. watches over downtown Helena.|
We were out in Helena a few weekends ago to visit the Montana Historic Society Museum for Erin's birthday, and while kickin' around town, we couldn't help but notice all these beautiful old hand painted signs, and how much better they look then the ubiquitous hunkashit signs found throughout the 2013 American landscape.
Now, I'm a computer person. Everything I create, from cartography, to design, to video is based on it. So, when I see any good design created by hand, I'm in awe. Try as I might, these designers can imbed a human element that is impossible for me to recreate in a program. Which, is awesome.
It also turns out, there is a documentary coming out about folks who hand paint signs, and it looks like it's going to be a good one.
There was a time, as recently as the 1980s, when storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards, and even street signs were all hand-lettered with brush and paint. But, like many skilled trades, the sign industry has been overrun by the techno-fueled promise of quicker and cheaper. The resulting proliferation of computer-designed, die-cut vinyl lettering and inkjet printers has ushered a creeping sameness into our landscape. Fortunately, there is a growing trend to seek out traditional sign painters and a renaissance in the trade.More: 'Sign Painters' Movie & Book
More: Ghost Sign Project
More: KPAX story on Butte's Ghost Signs (01.21.2013)