“It is at the moment of a craft’s disappearance that its cultural value suddenly becomes plain to see.”
Most of us have seen a millennium's worth of design changes over last couple decades: InDesign toppled Quark, HTML5 bested Flash, responsive design edging out mobile-only sites...
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that before the Digital Age, there was another battle raging on in the design world: sign making.
Way before cheap-and-easy-to-make vinyl signs could be produced on a computer, it wasn’t uncommon to see real, live people hand lettering storefront signs, banners, and murals.
Which is the topic of this recent film Sign Painters, which documents more than two dozen craftsmen who still work (or have retired from working) on signs by hand.
It’s a great look at a pre-digital trade striving to strike the delicate balance between producing art and making money. (Does that sound familiar?)