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  • help wanted with pictorial english signbooks?

    Posted by Henry Barker on October 9, 2002 at 9:24 am

    Good Morning!

    I am self taught at what I do here, and love my job, I am always on the lookout for more printed material.

    I have masses of american books on signmaking from Mike Stevens to pictorial collections like Sign Design/Gallery. etc etc. I have very few British signs books, I have AJ Lewery Signwritten Art, Popular Art, and Canalboat art books, Stanley Chews English Pub Signs, Eric Delderfield Pub Signs, Bill Stewart’s Signwork, plus some really old clothbound typeface books. We have such a strong history of British tradition in signwork, there must be more to be found in print.

    Being self taught from 10 years of being in business, and reading mainly american books and magazines means that with a sprinlking of local Swedish flavour most of the stuff I turn out is with that influence. I would like to have more British reference material, of traditional work, not digital or electronic signage.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated in pointing me in the right direction, so much stuff is out of print if you happen to find it in the first place.

    Maybe its time to put together some pictorial tours through the British sign industry.

    Henry Barker replied 21 years, 6 months ago 7 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Mike Brown

    October 9, 2002 at 11:32 am

    hold on Henry – I’ll get me’ camera… 😉

    I’m only joking – but you’re absolutely right.

    The magazines we have over here (UK ones) are a joke – well almost – in that they seem to be made up as follows:

    The typical UK Sign Magazine:

    30% Advertisements
    40% Digital imagery of stuff that is borderline ‘signwork’?
    10% People in suits shaking hands and patting each other on the back
    5% Last months stories chopped down and re-edited
    5% Stories of coporate take-overs, mergers and quarterly reports
    5% more Digital imagery – this time definately nothing to do with signs…and
    3% What’s happening in the US?…fine…

    I know, I know that doesn’t add up to 100% of anthing – no, neither do the mags 😉

    I think I will get my camera after all…

    Apart from the books you mention – I can’t think of any/many others – perhaps others will know?

    more soon

  • brian the brush

    October 9, 2002 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Henry, as Mike says we are very short of UK pubished sign books. I have a copy of a book you might like to find, it called The Art And Craft Of Signwriting, by William Sutherland. Published in 1987 by Omega Books Ltd, with a referance number of, ISBN 1-85007-088-1
    Omega books also have in print ( I think they are still in print ? )
    You might find more details on the internet as to purchasing these, I bought mine from a UK art shop who has now closed down, otherwise I would have tried to find you a copy, good luck with your quest. If you find any interesting books please post their titles on this topic page so that we can all look for them, good reference books are hard to find these days !!

  • Phill Fenton

    October 9, 2002 at 4:41 pm

    I recommend Mikes CD – “The secrets of design”

    Though not a book – it is the modern day equivalent of a good book full of advice and ideas on design using computer cut vinyl.

    For details go to:-

  • Jeffrey P. Lang

    October 30, 2002 at 9:15 pm

    Henry & others,
    The American Sign Museum website has a page dedicated to a list of the top 25 sign books. I don’t know how many were printed in the UK, but,
    it’s a excellent list of substantial books printed on the subject with descriptions, pictures of the covers, authors etc.
    Check it out!
    Also, check out the entire site if you get time. It’s worth a bookmark!


  • Martin C

    October 30, 2002 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks Jeff

    What a great site. Loads of old style Signcraft via the links page. One in particular I’m going to try and re-create!

  • Pete Witney

    October 31, 2002 at 12:00 am

    I posted this in the wrong place so here we go again.Not really a sign book but-A NATION OF SHOPKEEPERS-by Bill Evans andAndrew Lawson,ISBN 0-85965-165-7.Loads of pictures of British shop fronts from 1900s-1970s

  • Henry Barker

    October 31, 2002 at 7:58 am

    Thanks Pete I will check that out

    Thanks Jeff, there are some great books listed there, a few of which I have, like Atkinson, Henderson, and Strong.

    It was more pictorial books of British signage,

    When I was last home in the UK I spent a day in Hay-on-Wye just buying new and secondhand books, found a couple of great books, but its hard work, anybody familiar with Hay will know that is book after book over the whole town, the good part is that it was only 30-40mins from where I used to live.

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