Thursday, October 17, 2013

Vernacular Signs

Oh, the charm of a hand-painted sign made by someone who doesn't know much about drawing letters. In contrast with the careful process that would be used by a professional sign painter, these so-called "vernacular" signs have enthusiasm and character, but not exactly the kind of professionalism that silently assures the viewer of a good experience at the business.

Even when they don't start out with a message that's more threatening than welcoming....

...they can make you wonder about the quality of the goods inside:

(I have to say, this is my all-time favorite vernacular sign. It's so bright and cheerful, just trying so hard to be noticed. And the letter shapes are insane.)

I especially love how the back of this sign includes yellow paint on the support uprights, as if that will help them blend into the sign so the reader won't notice them:

But the painter sometimes forgot that camouflage was the concept and continued the yellow paint almost to the ground.

Some vernacular signs clearly took a lot of work, and while they don't look professional, they manage to communicate the kind of care the business owners bring to their work:

This sign has raised wooden letters, each painted and attached to the sign board.


The signs are from Lyndale Avenue at about 27th Street in South Minneapolis, University Avenue at Dale Street in Saint Paul, and University Avenue near Lexington in Saint Paul.


Update: Looks like you could try to sell these signs for some money if you were as silly as the people who run this vintage sign shop in Chicago.

No comments: