The trendsetting work of the late Chester Cunningham

By signcraft

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2023

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Back in the late 1970s and early ’80s, you couldn’t talk about sign design in a sign shop for very long before Chester Cunningham’s name came up. Chet, as his friends called him, was a very creative sign painter and designer inspired by showcard and sign design that grew out of the 1950s and 1960s in the Chicago area and southern California.

Over time, Chester built on those design styles to create his own unique style. He incorporated typefaces in his work, moving away from using exclusively the hand-drawn letterstyles of years past.

Chester honed his skills first as a sign painter in his native Dothan, Alabama. He moved on to lettering “TV cards”—the showcards advertising local businesses and events that were held in front of the camera as “commercials” in the days of live television. Eventually he worked as art director at a few area stations.

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