Our unique fonts are created from historic sign painting manuals that date from the 1840s through the early 1920s. These fonts were historically designed for storefront commerce in downtown spaces.
This was a period in which downtowns were commercial environments that featured walkable neighborhoods, slow-moving vehicle traffic, and innovative spaces. Today, these are the same features that are seen in downtown revitalization: an encouragement for increased pedestrian use, vehicle traffic that is purposely slowed down through design, and second-floor residential units that are lived in by those who wish to locally shop and dine.
Historic commercial buildings adapt well for modern entrepreneurs, but many independent business owners struggle with signage that engages potential customers and complements their historic buildings in a way that contributes to a sense of place. This sense of place is what helps to encourage residents to live and work downtown, and to attract destination traffic from those who are a part of the growing experience-based economy. Neighborhoods with unique historic architecture and signage draw independent local businesses that then attract customers looking for experience-driven shopping and dining. This is why Storefont was created; sometimes stepping back, is the way to step forward.
Storefont was created by historic preservationist and economic development expert, Darrek D. Orwig. After years of working in the downtown revitalization field, Darrek saw how acquiring effective signage burdened a number of downtown business owners. Many times, business signage was an afterthought as businesses began—resulting in diminished customer traffic and engagement.
To assist entrepreneurs, Darrek has developed an economical way to increase signage in downtowns that will complement historic buildings and add to a neighborhood’s sense of place. Storefont kits will help emerging business owners create a unique sign that both complements a historic building and stands out to customers.
In addition to founding and managing Storefont, Darrek holds a Master’s Degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design and teaches a graduate level course on architectural preservation at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He also engages in author talks for his popular books on Midwestern history. Feel welcome to connect with him via email, or by phone.