Hand-painted butcher paper grocery store signs - SkyscraperCity
 

forums map | news magazine | posting guidelines

Go Back   SkyscraperCity > Continental Forums > North American Skyscrapers Forum > United States > Midwest and Plains > Local Forums > Chicago

Chicago » Projects and Construction | Infrastructure & Transportation


Global Announcement

As a general reminder, please respect others and respect copyrights. Go here to familiarize yourself with our posting policy.


Reply

 
Thread Tools
Old January 24th, 2009, 09:08 AM   #1
Abner
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 232
Likes (Received): 0

Hand-painted butcher paper grocery store signs

This is a very important question.

You know the signs I mean. These ones:

(taken by SSP user Jibba here)

They're ubiquitous in Chicago, yet I don't think I've seen them anywhere else. They all have very similar letterforms and style--which looks like it's changed very little since the 40s--yet they cover the windows of almost every independent grocery store in the city and many of the suburbs. They're clearly done by professional sign painters. Where do they come from? Is there some group of sign painters in Chicago that has adopted its own highly uniform style and somehow keeps the old-fashioned hand-lettered sign tradition alive? Or am I crazy and this sign style is actually everywhere and I just tune it out?

Here's another great specimen from the (now closed) CertifiedLand in Oak Park:
image hosted on flickr

(flickr user msmiko)
(I especially love that they advertise that the ground chunk is US Gov't. Insp't.)

(On further reflection, I shouldn't assume this is butcher paper.)

Last edited by Abner; January 24th, 2009 at 09:33 AM.
Abner no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old January 24th, 2009, 11:36 AM   #2
SIC
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 290
Likes (Received): 0

I vaguely recall a reader article about this a few years ago (circa 2004-2005) about a sign painter. He might have been homeless, but there's obviously more than one of them.

You're right, it's ubiquitous and taken for granted but obviously it's still a traditional craft that has been kept alive.
SIC no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 12:11 AM   #3
Jibba
Registered User
 
Jibba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 491
Likes (Received): 1

Interesting observation; I suppose I've never really thought about the ties that these signs have to Chicago. I can't really think of anywhere else that has them, either. They're certainly a great advertising instrument--similar to being able to browse a menu at a restaurant that has been displayed to face out of the storefront windows. Some people find them a little tacky, but I think they're great for checking prices at a glance--the typical bright, bold colors make for easy reading. They also liven up streetscapes the way that a somber, bland mega-grocer won't do.
Jibba no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old January 25th, 2009, 01:14 AM   #4
Mr Downtown
Urbane observer
 
Mr Downtown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,547
Likes (Received): 13

I never particularly thought of them as a Chicago thing. A quick image search turns up various examples on Flickr from around the country. They're certainly a mark of independent grocers, which are increasingly rare anywhere. I'm surprised that they don't run afoul of sign ordinances in places like Oak Park or Evanston (perhaps they do).

These days, I like them as ways to brush up on my Spanish food nouns.

Last edited by Mr Downtown; January 25th, 2009 at 07:16 AM.
Mr Downtown no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 05:05 AM   #5
Abner
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 232
Likes (Received): 0

Really? See, I never thought about them as a local thing either (or for any other reason really) until multiple friends from various other places commented on them (I have friends who notice things like this) and I realized I couldn't recall seeing any of this type anywhere else. The lettering style is quite distinct. I've found pictures of a somewhat similar style in a couple other Midwest cities plus a sign painter's web site in upstate New York, which is similar although a different lettering style. The Flickr user DepressionPress is an Illinoisan typography artist who has made a typeface based on signs in the suburbs.

Of course part of it could be that independent grocers who have been in business a long time have held out around here in greater numbers than a lot of other places so there are more places to see these signs.
Abner no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2009, 03:42 PM   #6
jsk1983
Registered User
 
jsk1983's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 179
Likes (Received): 1

Of course in a lot of cities signs like this just don't make sense. I'm from Buffalo and there really aren't any independent grocers like their are in Chicago. I'd imagine its simply cheaper this way for stores with one or two locations, despite the fact that it obviously takes the sign painter longer than someone making it on a computer.
jsk1983 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 28th, 2009, 02:22 AM   #7
Chicagoago
Registered User
 
Chicagoago's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,707
Likes (Received): 1486

I always associated them with Hispanic majority stores for some reason. I just assumed it was somehow a cultrual thing from Latin America...lol.

No clue why...I guess there aren't a lot of independant stores in Lakeview where I live, but then when I drive west I must randomly be going through hispanic areas and a lot of independant stores at the same time.
Chicagoago no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 28th, 2009, 03:17 AM   #8
spyguy
Expert
 
spyguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 6,916
Likes (Received): 98

Hmm...I never really thought about them before and just assumed some guy in the back made them.
spyguy no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 28th, 2009, 05:26 AM   #9
Birdboy08
Chicago!
 
Birdboy08's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 95
Likes (Received): 0

Hey I live 1/2 block away from that last picture
__________________
The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.
-Frank Lloyd Wright
Birdboy08 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old February 2nd, 2009, 11:08 PM   #10
milepig
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 60
Likes (Received): 0

I've noticed that they always include an adjective of some sort. Everything is "sweet" or "juicy" or "choice" or "farm fresh". I once saw a sign that just said "limes" and I actually did a double take.
milepig no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 


Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT +2. The time now is 11:12 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

SkyscraperCity ☆ In Urbanity We trust ☆ about us