Used to be that small signs like these were all hand painted. Each carried the imprint of the choices made by the creator: colors used, shape of the sign, and the typeface, all of which gave the sign a distinct personality. Since the arrival of ‘desk top publishing’ anyone with a computer and a simple word processing program can ‘design’ and print out a legible sign or notice. Previously the realm of the artist or designer, now the machine helps select font (typeface), size, color, kerning (spacing between letters) and how much space between lines of text.
The photo above shows example of both creative methods, human versus machine. The three on top are “machiney”. The ‘HOTEL DIONYSSOS’ sign (on metal!) is certainly legible, having clean and well contrasted lettering – but it lacks something. On the other hand ‘Maria’s Hair Salon’ is clearly a human effort (it even manages to squeeze in a web address!). As a sign the design is lacking (text too thin, yellow on white is tough to read especially with visually stronger competition nearby). Whether the little sign works to “drive traffic” to Maria or not it is hard to say. But the sign has something special about it.
The other hand painted signs for Gusto and Olivo also hold their own against the three commercially made, screen printed hotel directives above them. Of these three only Hotel Ionia appears to be hand painted though from a computer generated design. As none of the six signed establishments are anywhere near to the signpost, the always tricky design element of arrows are employed to send clients and potential clients in the right direction.