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Revival Bar & Kitchen transom sign, design process pictorial

17 August, 2010
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Alright, I’m gonna try to this with as many pictures and as few words as I possibly can… (ha!).  Ask me a question, if you have any.

We just put up a gilded sign over the door at a new restaurant in Berkeley, and here are some sketches leading up to it.

At first meeting, the client mentioned liking old ghost signs, and the look of the Dollar Dreadful website.  They already had a make-shift logo, to bide them through their opening weeks, and the only part of it they suggested maybe keeping was the “+” linking bar and kitchen.  I sketched some, we talked more, I sketched more…

The simple knotwork motif in the frame of that bottom sketch, was adapted from a sign New Bohemia did for Chow, way back in the 20th century.  Anyway, we ended up dropping that, but developed the letter style some more, running the v’s through a sharpener, among other things.

At this point, I was hoping maybe to use a font I’d designed a year or so ago, for another job which, as it happens, had fallen through:

But Revival didn’t like it much, prob’ly for the same reasons that Curator didn’t like it much.  Too pointy?  They suggested they liked Grant’s Antique, from the Letterheads Font shop, and we agreed that the Boston Candies logo on that page was a lot like what they wanted.  So, I sketched some more, looking at that, some Dover frame collections, and my copy of Atkinson sign reproductions:

They liked those, and also decided to go with an ampersand, instead of the plus sign.  While working on a few takes on the frame  I went on a Letterhead Fonts shopping spree, then tried making them fit the sketch shapes, so they could have a printable logo version of the sign.

Eventually, we settled on something, and went out to gild, on Monday.

When I saw the deep overhang above the transom, I decided to put matte centers on “Revival”, so it would diffuse more light, and be more visible from positions where the window reflected the dark ceiling.  I think it’ll look really good in the light of those little marquee bulbs, too.

And here’s what it looks like done:

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 25 August, 2010 13:49

    Thanks very much for sharing your process! As a fellow designer and aspiring sign painter, it is always very nice and helpful to be able to see the process of a design. Very inspiring! Keep up the great work! You guys are my heroes!

    • 25 August, 2010 15:06

      Thank you. We kinda way overshot the mark here, on sketch iterations. I ate it a bit, on that end–and I don’t want to leave the impression that I do that many drawings for every/any job. I’d go broke, but… well, as it happens, I did so here. And I like a lot of aspects of some of the ideas that didn’t get developed further…

  2. 7 September, 2010 16:51

    Thanks for sharing – the sketches are all wonderful and the process of bringing the sign to life is a great insight to your work. I’m always a fan of great typography and hand-painted to boot!

    • 7 September, 2010 20:12

      Glad you enjoyed it, MrsCobra. Trying to occasionally churn up an insight, here and there, on my end, it’s good to get some feedback. Hope to keep you interested!

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