All posts by Sam Roberts

Not Nice from A Large Evil Corporation

Not Nice is the first promotional magazine produced by Coy! Communications for the (real) animation company A Large Evil Corporation, and their (fictitious) subsidiary, Evil Farms. It features a stack of tongue-in-cheek and innuendo-filled pages which were launched alongside an exhibition of photography and prints, all directed by Coy’s Mark Denton Esq.

We were invited along to one of the photo shoots to create a series of shocards for Evil Farms’ new supermarket, promoting everything from humongous melons to popped cherries. Mike Meyer took the brief and ran with it across a fun-packed day in the studio. Thank you to Coy! for getting us involved, a run-down of the whole team and more photos can be found on their blog about the project.

Vienna’s Incredible Schildermalermuseum

In October I visited Austria for the launch of Ghostletters Vienna by Tom Koch. While there I was taken on many trips across the city (see 36 Viennese Signs), and also on a visit to the Schildermalermuseum (Sign Painter Museum). It is a little-known gem which should be a place of pilgrimage for anyone in the sign and lettering world.

The museum is housed in the former workshop of Josef Samuel, the last in four generations of Viennese sign painters. The business was originally set up in 1882 by Josef’s Great Grandfather and the museum contains material gathered across the 130 years that elapsed between then and the recent closure of the shop.

Signage for the Samuel business

Starting with the founder successive generations realised the value of keeping their work, and other materials connected with it. A number of pieces advertising the business itself were on display.

Gold & Glass Pieces

The business was highly versatile, able to work in a variety of techniques, including gilding and glass work.

Sample Panels

One of my favourite parts of the museum were the two dozen or so small sample panels, typically painted in the slower winter months as examples to show prospective clients of the type of work that could be commissioned.

Firmaschilder Ladenaufschriften, Wien 1899-1900

Josef brought out a number of books from the turn of the century, including this one which was a series of photographs documenting Viennese signage between 1899-1900.

Der Praktische Schildermaler by Hans J. Jedlitschka

A second book comprised a series of signs and layouts. (Damon Styer of New Bohemian Signs has written about this book here.)

Trade Directory

A trade directory featured a mixture of sign painter listings, and advertisements for them and their suppliers.

Final Apprenticeship Piece

Arnold Samuel (junior) completed this piece at the end of his apprenticeship, with sketches on display alongside the finished work.

Sketches & Cards

In addition to finished pieces and samples, a large collection of noteworthy and other sketches and pieces on paper and card have been saved.

Entrance & Artefacts

As you would expect, the entrance is well signed. Once inside it is possible to see some of the antique equipment that still sits where it was once used.

Other Work & Museum Founder

Finally, some samples of other signage, pictorials, and a portrait of museum founder, Josef Samuel. I highly recommend making an appointment to visit if you are travelling to Austria, or any of the neighbouring countries. There is no direct charge, but voluntary donations are welcomed. To arrange an appointment, Contact Josef (German only).

For more on Ghostletters Vienna, see this blog post on Ghostsigns about the launch, the book’s home page and Facebook page. It can be purchased directly from the publisher, or via Amazon and Abebooks (UK and USA).

The Better Letters New Year Challenge

The Better Letters New Year Challenge
The Better Letters New Year Challenge

This year Better Letters has run over 40 workshops in 19 cities across three continents. These, and the events from previous years, means that there are hundreds of people out there that have learned something through a Better Letters workshop. We want to celebrate this, and reconnect, so have created the Better Letters New Year Challenge.

The idea is simple, create a piece of lettering to welcome in 2017, making use of the skills you’ve learned at a Better Letters workshop. This can be a panel, shocard, blackboard, or anything else that you feel like working on. The wording can be as simple as ‘Happy New Year’, ‘Hello 2017’, ‘Better Letters New Year’, or get creative and surprise us!

Once you’ve finished, post a photo with #BetterLetters to the Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter, and tag Better Letters and the workshop teacher(s) too. We’ll then collect these and share them via a consolidated gallery on Facebook.

Letterheads 2016: Greetings from Amsterdam

Last month saw over 150 letterheads from five continents (25+ countries) descend on the beautiful city of Amsterdam for three days of learning, lettering and networking. Hosted by the Amsterdam Sign Painters, it was an incredible event with over 20 workshops covering everything from window splashes, to chrome lettering, to distressed signs. These were followed by a free for all on the final day where all sorts of vehicles and other blank canvasses were provided for people to let their brushes loose on.

The following are some of the photos and videos I captured at Greetings from Amsterdam, and you can find lots more from others on the Facebook event page, and via #Letterheads2016 on Instagram. There are already two forthcoming meets, so if you missed out this time then make sure you’re at either or both of Joby Carter’s in November and Oslo Norway in June next year. Massive thanks to Miranda, Jasper, and all the Amsterdam Sign Painters for making the 2016 meet a showstopper!

Mike Meyer Morgue File

The Morgue File brings together clippings and other ephemera gathered by Mike Meyer over the years as inspiration for signs and lettering. The book is a collaboration between Mike Meyer, Better Letters, designer Alice Mazzilli, printers 12–B and paper merchants G.F Smith. Printed by Risograph on Munken (main pages) and Colorplan (cover and section dividers), each cover has been hand stamped by Mike Meyer.

The book officially launched at Greetings from Amsterdam (26 August), and unofficially at an event in London (13 September). It is available exclusively from A.S.Handover, via their online shop and London outlet.

Here are some behind the scenes videos and photos showing some of the production process for this book, and visit the shop to see other goodies from Better Letters.