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Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 12: Trader Joe’s In-Store Signage

Trader Joe’s first opened in 1967. The grocery store chain has a gained a cult following by being well, weird.

One way this manifests is, Trader Joe’s hires crew members (grocers) with artistic talent to paint and letter their in-store murals and signs.

These murals and signs are unique to the specific location of the store. Each Trader Joe location customizes their interior signage based on the city they’re in.

A posted job listing for a sign artist read like this:

If you have experience in art including penmanship, working with chalk and large signage, we’d love to meet you. We can teach you the rest.

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Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 3: Papa Lopez Mexican Cantina Restroom Signage

I can’t resist hand-painted lettering. A steady hand and brush can enliven any space. Even a restroom hallway.

Papa Lopez Cantina understands this. It would’ve been cheaper, and still effective, to slap the old Men and Women restroom signage to the doors. But somebody in the Papa Lopez art department believed in better.

Look close. You can still see the paint drying.

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amreading architecture Art Commonplace Book Drawings

Drawing Lessons from Architect Matthew Frederick pt.3 Architectural Hand-Lettering


Handwriting, penmanship, this is all drawing. Hand-lettering can be another artistic tool to add to your kit.

Matthew Frederick shares 6 architectural hand-lettering principals to follow:

1. Honor legibility and consistency above all else.

2. Use guide lines (actual or imagined) to ensure uniformity.

3. Emphasize the beginning and end of all strokes, and overlap them slightly where they meet – just as in drawing lines.

4. Give your horizontal strokes a slight upward tilt. If they slope downward, your letters will look tired.

5. Give curved strokes a balloon-like fullness.

6. Give careful attention to the amount of white space between letters. An E, for example, will need more space when following an I than when coming after an S or T.

Matthew Frederick

This week, for fun, find ways to practice your architectural hand-lettering.

Write a thank-you note.

Write a love letter.

Write a haiku.

Then mail it out it to your lover, mother, or bestie.

Be sure to practice your hand-lettering on the to and from address on the envelope as well.

You’ll get some practice in, and they will receive a special gift.

Source: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, Matthew Frederick, pg 22