As the visual influence of branding consultants infiltrates every aspect of North American culture, from international retailers to entrepreneurial local restaurant operators, vernacular graphic design has disappeared from the city. This becomes evident when looking at photographs of cities from as recently as the 1970s, when the art of the hand-painted sign – designed by the sign company – graced at least half the storefronts. Trucks might be the last bastion of this visual language – big blocky letterforms, short names, and a strong color background seem to make the most impact.
Perhaps others have commented on this last gasp of quotidian graphic design. If a book hasn’t been done to capture this language – perhaps we should produce it – before these moving signs are also subject to a more self-conscious identify strategy.