Sunday, July 30, 2006

SMITTY’s - a typical beauty sign

"Cut meh hair like the one in de picture", Eastern Main Road, Trinidad, West Indies

This is a typical sign in Trinidad and Tobago. In fact we are going to do many of them to look at typography, illustration and layout design (or lack of). What I like about many signs is where they are placed. You can tell that this one is on the side of a rum shop. In the distance you can see a plastic banner for an alcoholic beverage. These plastic banners became popular for advertising and came to my attention in 2002 during elections.The Sans Serif text for Smithy’s and the rest of the text above the people tells us that the artist was aware of prominence for the sign. I could hear Smithy, or as we say of a name like this, Smitty, saying, ‘Yes, Ah want de name big.” He wants us to know that Smithy is professional and unisex. Now here is the rub, Smithy’s unisex salon shows two paintings of a man and a woman whose hair looks at a glance pretty much the same.

The artist has tried to do what he can, adding earrings on the woman, making her outfit fussy around the neck and even given her makeup. Never easy to do with household paint. But then I also find the text underneath the portraits a bit odd, it does not say specializing in but specialized in? Smithy does not have to know anything more in hairdressing? Maybe he should put some more credentials next to his name? All the specialities are in a variety of colours and the Itallic type style is hard to read sometimes. But for many small business people who ask for signage and print advertising this ‘wedding’ type style is a favourite and shall not be going away anytime soon. - Adele

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