The Art of the Sign

The Art of the Sign

A new book and documentary film called “Sign Painters,” written and directed by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, looks like an intriguing dip into a time-honored and increasingly specialized niche of design and illustration, the hand-painted sign.

In an NPR interview for the film, sign painter Norma Jean Maloney says she started by painting a bar sign for free on Broadway in Nashville, TN.  “I knew once I was on the ladder I’d probably drum up some business,” she  says, and it worked – she ended up the day with requests to paint for many of the businesses on lower Broadway.  Seeing her handiwork displayed is a thrill for her:  “It’s like having canvasses, all over town, of your art.”


Signs by Norma Jean Maloney’s Red Rider Studios, Austin, TX

You can listen to the interview about the film and also watch the trailer at

Disappearing ‘ghost signs’ on buildings are also mentioned in the film – I know of one still evident in Doylestown (PA) that was certainly hand-painted at its inception, across the street from the renovated Ag Works, below –


Corner of Main & Ashland, Doylestown

Have you seen any well-designed signs around town, or have you created one for a business or event?

–Pat Achilles


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