At Signs By Van, we often refer to ourselves as “artisans” or “craftsmen,” rather than sign makers. We have been making signs for the West Coast for over thirty years, and we have been using techniques that have, in some cases, been around for hundreds of years. This is because these techniques have shown to produce the best looking and longest lasting signs as opposed to some more modern techniques. Today, we wanted to go over a few of these traditional art styles and explain what makes them so great.

Here are some examples of traditional artisan practices we use at Signs by Van:

  • Gold Leafing: Gold leafing is a classic and elegant tradition that has been relatively unchanged for over 5,000 years. It is commonly seen in architecture on temples and cathedrals, as well as in the form of gilding on artwork. Gold leaf and gilding At Signs by Van, we use a slow size method. This refers to a using an adhesive that must sit for up to 15 hours to reach the correct level of tackiness when gold leaf or other metallic leaf can be applied. This ensures the most durability and quality of the final product. While most sign companies use a quick 3-hour setting glue, we know by experience that a slow size method is going to create a longer lasting sign.
  • Carving: Our hand-carved signs might be the type of sign that arguably conveys the artistic talent of our craftsmen the best. We are known as the premier 3-dimensional sign producers in California because one of our methods involves carving your sign, or elements of your sign, by hand. The specific art we create can be referred to as bas-relief, meaning we create a 3D image with a shallow depth (think of George Washington on the quarter). Our custom carved wooden signs are painstakingly etched until every detail shines through, and finished with durable paints and protective layers. Many sign companies do not even offer hand-carved service for signs, as you need to best of the best artisans to create an immaculate final product. Check out our collection of hand-carved signs to see for yourself the detail and dedication that goes into each one.
  • Hand-Painted Signs: In addition to hand-carved signs, we also hand-paint our signs, making each and every sign one-of-a-kind. Unlike a canvas sign or an electronic marquee, a hand-painted, carved Sign by Van will display lasting paint and brilliant colors decades. Our skilled artists take their craft very seriously, and make sure every last detail is painting with care and dedication.

  1. Iron Fabrication: We do custom iron fabrication to ensure that not only your sign looks great, but also what is securing it to your storefront or interior looks just as professional. This not only ensures that your sign is going to be sturdy, but also ensures that the overall aesthetic is consistent. This is especially important for signs that sit perpendicular to your building and the bracketing almost becomes part of the sign, rather than an afterthought. Every sign that needs it will get its own custom iron work and metal bracket system to enhance the look of the sign, draw attention from customers, and add to the artistic theme.
  2. Murals: Northern California is known for our elaborate murals, and Signs by Van has been creating custom murals for businesses since the beginning. For over thirty years, we have partnered with world-class muralist Dong Sun Kim to give our clients unrivaled artistry and quality. Mr. Kim’s work can be seen all over the world, and is characterized by his ability to merge styles to create a truly unique style for our clients.

Signs By Van Mixes New With Old

Even though we use many traditional art techniques, we aren’t stuck in our ways. We recognize that modern technology has given us the ability to create signage that is more precise than what could ever be done by hand when the job calls for it. For example, using techniques like laser cutting and wood routing allows us to create stunning signs. At the end of the day, we’ve been in this industry long enough to know when to stick with tradition and when to use modern techniques and technology to provide our customers with exactly what they need for the success and longevity of their business. Check out our portfolio of signs that use traditional methods, modern technology, or a combination of both. Contact our artisan sign makers today and let us know how we can get started creating metal or wooden signs, custom murals, or other signage for wineries, restaurants, businesses, weddings and more in Northern California.