When I look at old photographs of myself from high school the first thing I notice besides my goofy grin is the hair style. For me it was the mid-90’s when I was in high school so I had a tinge of 80’s mullet in my hair style. Well 15 years later the trend is coming back so the mullet is now cool again in some circles. What do you know…the old is new again. Last year in sport the mohawk was popular. History is repeating itself with hair styles but it happens with other things too. I also recently watched an episode of the show Portlandia where in the sketch one bike messenger dude keeps seeing this business man in different places like a hipster bar. The bike messenger would see the business man and because the business man was there at the bar the bike messenger would yell out, “This place is so over!” He would then storm out. This sketch would continue the same way until the business man slowly morphed into the hipster bike messenger and the bike messenger became the business man. The sketch ends when they start all over.
That was a long intro to saying that if you want to be different these days with your signage than you have do signs like they did 50 years ago. So what does that mean? The old that is new again are signs like chalk boards or hand painted signs. The hand done look is hip right now. Mean while the digital graphics are yelling out to the hand painted sign “This is so over man!” I actually had a graphic designer ask me if there was a way to do the menu boards for the breakfast place to look like hand done chalk drawing.
Hand painted signs can not be published by clicking the print icon on your paint brush.
There is just no way to make digital graphics look like it was actual chalk. Hand done chalk drawing has its own look and feel and the same with any hand done art. It’s like putting an actual oil painting next to a photo print of the painting. It will never look like the original. And if you had to choose between the art and the print what would you rather have? The painting right?
How much does it cost for hand paint vs. digital?
The reason why people would choose the digital graphics is because of cost. Let’s face it, the cost of creating an electronic image with a graphics program and click print is a lot easier than painting by hand. Digital printing is not only easier, but it is faster and easier to change in the future. Digital printing is more cost effective too. Not that digital art is not skillful, but the cost savings on production time is significantly reduced thanks to a machine. So why would you go digital? The main two reasons are turn around time and cost.
If you truly want the old style look however of the hand painted sign then more artistic skill is required. Hand painted signs can not be published by clicking the print icon on your paint brush. The hand painter is a person that has studied his/her craft for years and has been taught by hand painters before him. They have a unique style that can’t be found in a clip art book. Hand painted signs also take time. There is quite a bit of prep work that goes into the painted sign before you even get to the painting. Prep work includes prime and painting the board, mixing each color to the right specifications or taste, and sketching out ideas for the sign. True even these days some of the prep work is done the computer just like a digital sign, but after that its all hand done baby!
So on a 18″ x 24″ single sided wood sign with digital graphics the time of production might be an hour at most if you were slow! But on a 18″ x 24″ single color hand painted sign with an average amount of text would only be half done at 2 hours. And this assumes the artist is not picky and doesn’t fuss over small imperfections.
Right now hand painting is trending. It’s hip to have custom hand painted graphics that look like you did them yourself. It’s time consuming and expensive, but it can be done. There is still a ton of digital out there though. Hand painting can not compete with digital when it comes to anything more than two colors or even photographs. At the end of the day it comes down to the look you want, the time you have, and the cost.