The Art, and not so much Craft, of the Homemade Sign

DSC01024At the risk of wrath from commercial graphic designers and sign companies, this post is in strong support of the homemade sign. I’m not talking about the ones that you can generate on your pc with multiple font types and glossy paper options. I mean the ones that you see when you drive down the street that announce lost dogs, garage sales, and fresh produce. I developed a special interest in those, and it’s fair to say that I go out of my way to stop and photograph ones that catch my interest—which I’ve done from Santa Fe to Singapore. Every culture seems to hang up a quick temporary sign to say something at some point.



I’ve made those myself at a public park that I worked at some years ago. I developed temporary signage to give visitors the name of the mushroom colony that popped up overnight or information on the temporary flowering of some wildflower or shrub. Or just to tell them that a trail is closed due to a fallen tree. Sometimes you just can’t wait for a quote from the sign company.


But I love homemade signs because they are endearing. Some are painted with day-glo colors that I could never envision using together, to just outright spelling mistakes. All of these are perfectly okay because the main thing is getting your information across– such as there is a band playing TONIGHT at the Bistro. That’s what matters. I have a friend who once told me that the number of temporary posters that you see stapled to telephone poles usually matches the level of action and excitement that’s happening in that town. And despite how city crews may feel about those, I think he is right.


Even if there are city ordinances enacted against the use of temporary signs, or even the next level of rogue signage—graffiti; people just can’t help expressing themselves, which is well demonstrated by rampant political signs. I don’t really have a point to make here, other than from my own perspective that homemade signs are not only okay to use, but might even convey a bit to out-of-towners about the unique culture or fabric of the local community. So with that I leave you with this short homage to homemade signs that I have found across the Sunny Southeast, and a few other regions as well………







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