Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

Attention all Customers – The Art of Lettering

Written by Christopher Alm • April 18th, 2008
Attention all Customers – The Art of Lettering

I am not only interested in vintage design, architecture, lounge music and stewardesses but also graphic design and typography seeing I majored in it in college and nowadays what I make a living from.

One thing that caught my attention lately are those old handwritten posters and placates that were found in major stores and outlets. Handwritten of course, they were in their own way a work of art. Done correctly they would both look elegant and selling.

Of course, the effect would be the opposite if they were done the wrong way. Here are a couple of nice examples taken from a book about how to learn the quick lettering technique used for signs and billboards. Now grab your pens and start practicing.

Christopher Alm

Christopher founded Ultra Swank in 2005. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition. Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain.

Find out more about Christopher Alm

  • Charles

    If only some smart guy could create a font! I could create samples of what NOT to do. I actually miss these old hand drawn signs. Supermarkets are not as fun as they used to be.

  • Chris

    There are of course typefaces like that out there, but they need some tweaking and work to look like that. The best thing is to get a Wacom board and draw your own texts, just like in the signs!

  • Traitor Vic

    I’ve got a friend (pretty old fella, actually) who got his start as a graphic artist painting Coca-Cola Signs on the sides of buildings back in the 50s. From there he went on to become a professional Sign Painter. While his work was, perhaps, a bit more classy than the drawn signs in most stores, they are both dying (practically dead) artforms. I miss it all.

  • Chris

    Got any link where we can see his work Traitor Vic?


    I never thought of this before, that it actually was an experience in itself to look at this artfully hand-made “extra-pris skyltningar”. But, I agree, it was!!!

  • Anonymous

    Pop Art!

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