The ones that got away

Sometimes the sign just doesn’t happen

By Gary Anderson

Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2019

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Most of us do a lot of signs that are what I call “professional.” It’s a clean, legible design that delivers the message in a professional way. Maybe it’s a sign for an attorney. It might have a nice frame on it and maybe a graphic or an architectural detail from the building. The copy is well organized but pretty much down to business—the firm name and some secondary copy. It’s a good, functional sign.

On other signs, though, you have an artistic opportunity where you can do something truly creative that will add a great deal of appeal and value to the sign. For most of us, these types of jobs probably make up only 20% of the signs we make—the rest fall into the “professional” sign category.

When you do an artistic sign, you usually put your heart and soul into it. If the project doesn’t sell for some reason, you can’t just throw the design into the trash and move on. You want to preserve the design because it may be usable in some form in the future. Maybe it can be adapted for another project, or it might just inspire some future design. So you save them.

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Gary Anderson’s shop, Bloomington Design, is in Bloomington, Indiana. Now retired, he has contributed to SignCraft for over 35 years, and authored two books: Signs, Graphics & Other Neat Stuff and More Signs, Graphics & Other Neat Stuff, both published by SignCraft.

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