With the future looking grimmer by the minute, it’s little wonder most of us seek comfort in the past. There’s a craving for nostalgia—for ’70s and ’90s fashion, old record players, and glossy magazines. Sign painter Chris Mackenzie-Gray turns nostalgia into function, producing and hand-painting signs that speak the language of dem olden days.
His sign-painting services range from very small door numbers to large-scale murals. “We work on all kinds of surfaces including brick walls, gloss, shop faces and glass and for a wide range of clients – from very commercial to very independent,” Mackenzie-Gray relayed in an interview with Lecture in Progress, where he promoted his sign-painting business, based in the UK.
Having studied graphic design with a focus on typography at LCC, Mackenzie-Gray was drawn to the analog processes of writing. “With a computer, it’s not difficult to change the layout or grid, whereas with letterpress, you have to really think about what you’re doing because it’s such a faff to change something,” he explained.
“I did a whole bunch of research into sign painting, and one of my tutors shut down the idea,” he admits. “Maybe they didn’t consider it graphic design, or a viable job but I just remember thinking, ‘well, that’s not something I’m going to think about again.’ I really enjoyed graphic design, but sitting at a computer nine hours a day would have left me feeling very drained.”
If you’re a fan of typography you’d want to follow Toucan Signs’ Instagram page.