My sign design projects with hand painted script lettering – 1980’s and 90’s

Back before computers were everywhere, I worked with some businesses to develop a graphic identity for their vehicles, printing, etc. I may have saved the logo design graphics somewhere, if I find them I’ll add photos to this post. Bouncy scripts incorporated into graphics have a unique eye-catching flow to them.

This one – Bay View Plumbing in Redondo Beach CA, was a classic sign painter design that ended up in all their printed pieces, on the vans, magnetic signs, the awning over the office, and who knows where else!

Bay View Plumbing

Another plumbing business I designed lettering for – I believe this was the first of a series of plumbing businesses because of referrals – is this one in Torrance CA.

Galloway Plumbing

This logo has been used by Discount Pool & Spa Supply in Lomita CA for many years. This was the first van I did for them…

Discount Pool Van

Fortunately we decided to lose the goofy pool water I thought was so clever in later years — still doing their vehicles, but now wrapping them (still using the same logo) like this:

Discount Pool Chevy Truck

Here’s another plumbing van client that I started working with in that time period, this one in Torrance CA. This is a newer vehicle, done in vinyl – but the bouncy script layout was inspired by years of sign painting.

This window signage for Robin Smith Physical Therapy in Manhattan Beach CA used the client’s business identity that included a script-style combined with classic sign painting techniques.

Based on her business card which had the color effect in the name lettering. Hand painted inside glass – started with outlines and descriptive copy (under the name), then stippled color in the name, and stippled white for the translucent effect it provides for the panel. I did this somewhere in the early 1990’s.

Robin Smith window

Finally, here is one more bouncy, hand painted, sign painter design style (kind of a showcard in banner format) I did around, maybe, 1985…


Sign painters have had a huge influence on graphic design in times past. We can look to all the unique script hand-lettering in (what I think, anyway) was the heyday of advertising and graphic design in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Hope you enjoyed this post.

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My hand painted sign work from 1980’s and 90’s – photo album

Uploaded some photos of some back-in-the-day sign painting and other work I did in the 1980’s and 90’s, so I thought I’d collect them in one album, here (click the photo to view):

My Ancient Sign Work


#signpainting #signpainter #handpainted (mostly)

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Recent work this week – school award logos

Big City provided award logos for a couple of Southern California schools this week. We offer our congratulations and gratitude for allowing Big City to help celebrate these awards!

First: Clegg Elementary School – Huntington Beach CA

Clegg Elementary School - Huntington Beach CA - new school award panel


Next: Cope Middle School – Redlands CA

Cope Middle School - Redlands CA - two new school award panels


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Recent work – Alton Marketplace Irvine – 26,070 square feet of hand painted super graphics!

ALTON-From Overpass

In Irvine, CA – this is the Alton Marketplace in the Irvine Spectrum.

As environmental graphics painters, projects like this are “meat and potatoes”… or, “beans and rice”… well, hopefully you understand!

The building is 648 feet on the long portion, 221 feet on the side portion, and 30 feet high. We were given the task of painting this graphic pattern on both portions in a very bright, eye-catching array of colors. This will be accented in the near future with a pair of channel letter signs to read “Alton Marketplace – Irvine Spectrum”.

Let the fun begin!

As always, the design starts with a scale drawing – the designers in this case had a pretty accurate set of elevation drawings to do their magic with. Here is the drawing we received:


Here is a typical scale drawing we used in the field:


The best way to recreate this at full size was to make paper patterns for each of the giant spokes of the pinwheel, except for the smallest two sizes which would be full or partial patterns. The paper pattern is perforated with tiny holes, then placed in the proper location based on the scale drawing, then the perforations are dusted with (in this case) white baby powder (about $2.98 at Walmart!!) to transfer the design to the wall. It’s laborious, but still the best way.

The client had requested we apply reflective glass beads into the paint before it dried, to be able to pick up some light. That was what we did – I don’t think it had a lot of effect, but in some light it does seem to make the graphics glow a bit.

Custom colors were a part of the job. We used One-Shot’s Fieldmaster product, satin finish. The custom color mixes were provided by Signmart in Orange, CA.


We worked in sections. The design was transferred to each section then the painting began. Here are the four sections in order:





And a few progress shots…






Don’t mind giving credit to the hardworking, professional crew – Alex Kurakake, James Thomas, Tracey Moloney, Amanda Lutz, and Remy Chwae.

Cut the outside edges, roll paint, blow the glass beads into it, and repeat until done.



Here is a close-up of the beads embedded in the paint – it picks up the sunlight, here:


Finally, in the evening light the glass beads did pick up light – here’s how it looked:


Another happy client was the result.

Here is one more photo, taken from across the 5 Freeway – hope it shows the size of the project.

ALTON - from Garage Roof


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Completion photos from our 2017 supergraphics project – Golden Road Brewing – Anaheim CA

Golden Road Anaheim - northeast view

Golden Road Anaheim - north view

Golden Road Anaheim - northwest corner

Golden Road Anaheim - west view

#supergraphics #signpainting #signpainter #handpainted #environmentalgraphics


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