Design Choice Communications


Personalized Wood Sign


This hand-painted sign in acrylic on balsa wood was commissioned as a graduation and wedding gift. The sign is patterned after an initial concept originally created for the client as a gift for their own wedding following graduation from dental school. Similarly, the recipients of this piece graduated and married the same year, thus “EST. 2003”. The color scheme — deep berry red, khaki and rich royal blue — were selected to match the couple’s décor, as described by the client. All other aspects of the design, however, were open ended.

Hand-painted Surname Sign


Each letter was traced from a printed-to-scale design created in Adobe Illustrator, and transferred on to the pre-sealed and sanded wood using a ruler, stylus and carbon transfer paper. Successful completion of the sign necessitated steady and deliberate brushstrokes to faithfully reproduce the typographic style.

Design Influences

Foreground design elements are influenced by the folk painting of Norway known as rosemaling — a relative to the decorative art known in the United Kingdom and the United States as tole painting. Rosemaling took root in approximately 1750 after the artistic styles such as Baroque, Regency and Rococo began to influence Norwegian culture.

The sign, as a whole, is loosely based on the Old West in which it was commonplace for families and business owners to use hand-painted or carved wood signs to announce a business name or family surname. The combination of design influences conveys an Old World feel paired to an American folk-art flare as alluded to by the modern typeface, color scheme and the watermark-like star painted in the background. The star, in particular, symbolizes the American Dream as inferred by the aphorism “Shoot for the stars [and land on the moon].” The star is suggestive of patriotism, celebrity, Americana and, in this case, the dreams of graduates and young couples to achieve personal success.

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