In an industry that’s over saturated with digitally designed, die cut vinyl stickers, The London Design Festival looks back at a time where sign writing meant pencils, precision and painting by hand. Like many skilled trades it has evolved to meet the demands of a time conscious digital society, however, the traditional craft is coming back to the Bankside Design District in the form of Better Letters workshops, film screenings and Ghost Signs tours.
Workshops | Better Letters
Founded in 2013 by Sam Roberts, Better Letters promotes contemporary signwriting and hand-lettering through artist representations and practical workshops.
Providing the opportunity to learn from the leading figures in the world’s sign writing/painting community, they are running two intensive one day, hand lettering workshops from legend of the sign world Mike Meyer. The workshop will enable the public to develop an understanding of the basic letter forms and build their brush skills.
WHERE: Market Hall, Borough Market, SE1 9AL
WHEN: Saturday 19 or Sunday 20 September, 10.00am-5.00pm
Screenings | Sign Painting | 21st Century Victorian
After its premier in 2014, a worldwide tour and sell-out screenings, Faythe Levine & Sam Macon’s Sign Painters will return to the Roxy. A feature length ‘exploration of the contemporary American sign painting scene’, the film harks back to the times where ‘storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards and even street signs were all hand lettered with brush and paint’.
Adrian Harrison’s short film 21st Century Victorian, will also be shown, documenting the passion and enthusiasm of British sign writer and traditional fairground artist Joby Carter.
WHERE: Roxy Bar & Screen, 128-132 Borough High Street, SE1 1LB
WHEN: Saturday 19 September, 7.30-11.00pm
Tours | Ghost Signs
Started by Sam Roberts in 2006 Ghost Signs is a research and publishing initiative. Previous projects have included the curation of the History of Advertising Trust Ghostsigns Archive and running the Ghostsigns Walking Tour.
Believing that old signs become art in their own right, the tour rediscovers the ‘ghost signs’ (the fading remains of hand painted signs) of the city. The new walk will take you through the streets of Southwark, revealing the history behind some of the city’s most iconic and almost-forgotten advertising.
WHERE: Shipwrights Arms, 88 Tooley Street, SE1 2TF
WHEN: Monday 21 September, 2.00- 4.00pm