The Vibrancy of Historic Paint Pigments

Period paint manuals from the 19th century state there was a wide variety of processed and unprocessed earth pigments available for creating paint for signs and architectural applications. Natural pigments and ochers were found in shades of red, brown, green, and yellow. Oxides, as pictured in this blog post, could be man-made from natural elements to create colors such as ultramarine blue, viridian, lemon yellow, and titanium white. When mixed with a liquid like linseed oil and other ingredients, these pigments were transformed into paint for business signs that stood out to potential customers. The paints we encourage for our sign kits are based off of paint colors that were found in the 19th century that will complement the architecture of your historic building, and add to the destination draw of your unique downtown neighborhood. Connect with us today to discuss creating a vibrant sign in the range of period colors to help your locally owned business stand out.

We Couldn’t Afford a Sign

Many times, new entrepreneurs invest the majority of their funds into important business needs like products, equipment, and furnishings; with little being left over for engaging storefront signage. This common occurrence takes place across America, in big cities, small rural communities, and even for start-ups that have led to millionaire success. An example is Chip and Joanna Gaines from the hit HGTV show “Fixer Upper.”

In 2003 as they launched their new start-up, a tiny retail store named Magnolia, they had limited funds for a sign. Joanna wrote in an Instagram post: “The sign on the original building was what [Chip] surprised me with when he found out we couldn’t afford a real sign.” That handmade sign is pictured in this blog post. Unfortunately, most businesses aren’t as fortunate to have a design background.

All too often homemade signage is crudely painted, lacks scale, or is a temporary vinyl banner that soon weathers and sags. This type of under-signage does little for contributing to drawing customers to a business, or a neighborhood. This is one of the reasons why Storefont was created, to assist entrepreneurs with making their dream of owning a successful business, a reality. Connect with us today about how we can help you develop an affordable and engaging storefront sign for your unique business with one of our kits.

As Joanna Gaines further wrote in her Instagram post: “I have zero regrets…about stepping out and just going for it—this show, this business, it has our hearts.”

In Living Color

Determining the colors of historic buildings, and their signs, can be incredibly difficult. All too often the resources available are limited to black and white photographs, colorized postcards that were limited by the printer’s selection of inks, and less than pristine paint samples discovered during preservation projects. To supplement these resources, it is necessary to engage in primary source research of historic paint manuals to determine the colors available during the period. One of these books, pictured in this blog post was first published in 1884 and lists just some of the wide varieties of paint colors available through mixing natural pigments. Some of these pigments include colors like Venetian Red, Ultramarine Blue, Quaker Green, and Chrome Yellow. When put with liquids such as linseed oil, Japan dryer, and turpentine, pigments like these contributed to making paints that could be mixed into a range of vibrant colors. Through our research of paint books and sign painting manuals from the 1840’s to the 1920’s, Storefont can provide expert recommendations for colors to be used with our sign kits and fonts that will help your sign (and business) stand out, and complement the historic buildings of a downtown neighborhood to create a unique sense of place for potential customers to shop, dine, and experience!

Signs to Suit the Times

Across America, there is a growing number of communities successfully revitalizing their downtowns as an element of sustainable economic development. These historic downtown neighborhoods offer commercial spaces that are being valued, once again, for their ability to be the perfect place for small businesses.

However, after many downtown entrepreneurs begin paying rent, or a mortgage on their space, and then purchase furnishings and inventory, signage is considered an afterthought. Many business owners then open their business undersigned, or at times with no signage at all.

In response to this, Storefont is providing affordable business sign kits for downtown entrepreneurs. With twenty-one historic fonts available, Storefont is providing ways for business owners to have signage with fonts that were designed for engaging downtown traffic, while at the same time complementing their historic buildings and contributing to their neighborhood’s sense of place. Just like the sign painters of yesterday, Storefont is helping to create “Signs to Suit the Times.”