The fun stuff keeps the work interesting

By Bob Behounek

Posted on Saturday, September 16th, 2023

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Every year at this time, I take time to sit down and review all that’s taken place so far this year. It’s really difficult to sum everything up without looking back even further, comparing how things used to be compared to how they are now. We need a “time-measuring stick” to evaluate our quality of life, our fun and enjoyment levels, how much we have learned from our failures, and how blessed we all may be.

We have seen plenty of technological advances within our trade. There are more bells and whistles, and a whole new generation of sign people. The disks and CDs are flying around like a Frisbee convention. (Remember Frisbees?) I’m sure even the last sign painter standing will be digitized in some form or fashion. As every year passes, the passion to incorporate the brush-painted look into signs seems to disappear a little more.

I hope that all of you who are still hand lettering every day take time to be thankful for that gift. It is a true therapeutic release of one’s artistic expression. That explains how good you feel when the job’s all done. For me, I try real hard to keep the fun of it all alive within myself! I reach back into the archives, when need be, while utilizing those “Frisbees” to stay up with the rest of the world.

To illustrate this column, I threw together a mixed bag of past fun projects. A total design-to-completion late-model stockcar paint scheme, a logo development project on a white cargo van, some retro script off an old 1960’s car for an auto restoration sign, a flamin’ pinstriped roll-around toolbox, and even a hand-lettered, gold-leafed PVC show sign—all have been fun in their own way.

There’s some type plucked out of an old lettering book for the cutout plywood toy-box sign. How about some big, bold, chunky script for the patriotic banner? The rolling toolbox absolutely had to have some flames, striping and some swashy script. Check out the truck door project: dimensional PVC routed letters on a Peterbilt tractor door.

All of these projects had something in common with one another. They were diverse and different from one another, yet above all, fun! I seem to remember making many signs through the years that had that word in common. I don’t know about you, but this is why I do this every day. If these kinds of projects ever cease, then it’s time to find something else to do.

With this done, I’m going to take some time off and relax a while with my family. Today the balance between work and life is more important than ever.

This appeared in the September/October 2004 issue of SignCraft.




Bob Behounek has spent over 40 years as a sign artist and pinstriper in the Chicago, Illinois, area.