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Horsetooth Spirits and Marketplace

Horsetooth Spirts and marketplace road signHorsetooth Spirits and Marketplace isn’t your average liquor store…or market, for that matter. Under one roof, the two newly transitioned businesses now offer unique items. For example, besides  the usual grocery products, the Marketplace offers canned snake and other game meats. It will also sell camping and boating provisions.

Horsetooth Spirits, on the other hand, will focus on beer, wine and whiskies. Dawn Isaacs, the new owner and manager of Horsetooth Spirits and Marketplace, wants to introduce fine wines to the Horsetooth Lake area. The unincorporated community has experienced an increase of AirBnBs and other short term rental businesses. Additionally, weekend traffic in the area has never been better. As a result, tourists and recreation crowds are keen to stock their rentals, camps and boats with quality food and drink from Horsetooth Spirits and Marketplace. Be sure to visit their website at, https://horsetooth-spirits-marketplace-co.business.site/?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=referral

How we made the Horsetooth Spirits and Marketplace sign

The search for an identity that suited Isaacs was the first consideration. Dawn had a soft spot for donkeys. Specifically, a pet donkey named Forest. However, the name, “Horsetooth,” presented an obvious problem. As a compromise, we arrived at a mule motif. Further, we used a cartooned mule for the new mascot logo since it can be interpreted as either a mule or a horse.

We hand-painted the two-sided signs on aluminum composite material. In addition, Isaacs wanted a reader board (the red unit on the right side of the sign). It allows her to advertise spirits, marketplace specials and store hours. When finished, we mounted the roadside signs inside the Isaacs’ existing wood frame.

Finally, for consistency, we took colors and features from the road sign and incorporated them into their lighted sign and entryway sign, complete with chalkboard.horsetooth spirits and market place lighted signhorsetooth spirits and marketplace door sign

We specialize in Communication Art!

Paxton Signs’ more than 39 year history includes hundreds of signs. Some are major monument signs, some small business signs. We’ve created ranch signs, lighted signs and signs made from recycled wood. We specialize in hand-painted and carved signs. We also offer vehicle and fleet graphics.  Paxton Signs provides a continuous variety of communication art for Fort Collins, northern Colorado and the surrounding mountain areas.

View Paxton Signs’ galleries at www.paxtonsigns.com, or by using the menu bar, above. Contact us at 970-221-5519

Paxton Signs – Crafted Signs – Plain or Fancy

• Sandblasted • Handcrafted • Hand Carved • Hand Painted • Hand Lettered • Gold Leaf • Storefront • Dimensional • Residence • Vehicles • Murals • Logos • Identity

Vintage Commercial Signs From The Past

vintage commercial sign for rustic resortVintage commercial signs from the past are scarce. However, some still stand as sentinels to bygone eras. Such is the case for the Rustic Resort vintage commercial neon sign.

Founded in 1931 by William J. and Alice Richardson, Rustic Resort has had several colorful owners who built and managed the settlement.  This included a handsome log hotel, cabins, a store, and a remarkable hydraulic “power plant.” Later owners added a restaurant/bar and gas pump. However, the first owners were the most interesting. For example, the Richardsons thought nothing of adopting pet bears and pet porcupines. They had wolf pack encounters, and fished the Poudre’s world-class trout waters. They also survived harrowing buggy trips during record-breaking snowstorms. However, they never could have imagined a large, commercial, neon sign towering over their homestead.

 During the 1970s, subsequent owners decided to upgrade the resort.  They installed a two-sided commercial neon sign that featured a gigantic neon trout. Truthfully, they really didn’t need a neon sign in such a remote area. The resort’s reputation for good food and good times was legendary. Most likely, it was an effort to out-advertise their competition, Glen Echo Lodge, situated immediately next door.

vintage commercial neon sign for Rustic ResortUnfortunately, Rustic Resort  burned to the ground in 2008, taking with it the good times and good, interesting people. Although worn and faded, the vintage commercial neon sign still stands – awkwardly out of place – in one of Colorado’s few remaining pristine canyons.

Read Rustic Resort’s history at,
http://www.stude100.com/rs/rustic.html

View Paxton Signs’ galleries at, https://www.paxtonsigns.com/

 

Contact us by using the feature, above, or call us at, 970-221-5519

Ghost Signs Still Haunt America

Ghost Sign in San Francisco CaliforniaGhost Signs still haunt America. The more you Google them, the more you find. The more you find, the more fascinating they are.

Ghost signs are faded, hand-painted antique advertisements rendered on the exteriors of shops and old office buildings. Interestingly, they may be fragments or whole words such as, “Eat Carnation Mush,” “Edelweiss Beer,” or “Coca-Cola Relieves Fatigue.”

The Industrial Revolution ushers in modern advertising

During the industrial revolution, industries began to mass-produce items for sale to a more urban population. Moreover, older, traditional signs disappeared because they were dangerous to passers-by.  This meant advertisers painted on walls because painting there was the cheapest way to get noticed. Consequently, advertisers painted over and on just about everything.  It may seem shocking now,  but they even painted over Georgian or Victorian-era buildings. There were no preservation laws at that time.

Ghost Sign in Milwaukee WisconsinNumerous advertisers paid homeowners a monthly rent for the use of walls. The parties involved signed contracts that lasted many years. American advertisers could paint on the outside of tall city office buildings and apartment blocks – even farm structures. One sign painter illustrated chewing tobacco on 20,000 barns!

Madison Avenue changed everything

Ghost Sign in Syracuse New York

By the 1950s, the new materials of plastic and neon revolutionized the sign industry. In addition, Madison Avenue’s culture of advertising in magazines, radio, television, and printed billboards, offered clients graphic consistency. This meant no more uneven, hand-painted renderings by local painters.

The term, Ghost Signs, emerged in the middle of the 1970s. Subsequently, in 1989 the first book on the subject was written by William Stage: Ghost Signs: Brick Wall Signs in America. Not surprisingly, it involved decades of work that required standing on dumpsters and rooftops to photograph views of what passers-by had once thought unremarkable.

Ghost sign preservation lives!

Obviously, the world changed. Ghost signs began to fade. However, since most were too large to remove, they remained. Fortunately, the U.S. has an active preservation movement. Some enthusiasts even hope that these faded memories – these ghosts – will gain a similar cachet as Banksy’s public art. And that could raise property values. Whodathunkit? For now, they are still ghost signs that haunt America – advertising apparitions from the past.

Ghost Sign at Cooper Smith's restaurant Fort Collins ColoradoView more ghost signs in Fort Collins at https://medium.com/@david3ecker/13-ghost-signs-of-old-town-fort-collins-cb3b8c573704.

Check out Paxton Signs galleries by using the menu bar, above. Call us for a sign consult at, 970-221-5519.  To place an order, contact us at www.paxtonsigns.com/how-to-order

Handcrafted Signs

CB Potts handcrafted dimensional gold leafed sign. The Pines Apartments handcrafted sandblasted dimensional sign. St Peter's Fly Shop handcrafted dimensional sandblasted sign. Tricycle Creations handcrafted, sandblasted dimensional sign. Handcrafted signs make an impression.Hearthfire residential handcrafted entrance sign.Bella Fiore storefront handcrafted dimensional sign. Handcrafted signs make an impression.Inn at City Park photo. Vivians Lamp and Shade shop handcrafted dimensional sign.

We specialize in communication art!

Paxton Signs’ more than 39 year history includes hundreds of signs. Some are major monument signs, some small business signs. We’ve created ranch signs, lighted signs, and signs made from recycled wood. In addition, we specialize in hand-painted signs, carved signs, vehicle and fleet graphics. Paxton Signs offers a continuous variety of communication art. We’ve been serving Fort Collins, northern Colorado, and surrounding mountain communities for 39 years.

View our dimensional and storefront galleries at, www.paxtonsigns.com/dimensional-signs/ and, www.paxtonsigns.com/storefront-signs/

Contact us at  970-221-5519

Paxton Signs – Crafted Signs – Plain or Fancy

• Sandblasted • Handcrafted • Hand Carved • Hand Painted • Hand Lettered • Gold Leaf • Storefront • Dimensional • Residence • Vehicles • Murals • Logos • Identity

Is Gold Leaf A Good Choice?

Gold leaf sign for ViviansGold leaf. Shimmering, seductive, worthy of statuary and tombs for ancient gods, and for numerous works of art through the ages. The Egyptians were the first to perfect the process, followed by  improvements that resulted in a technique that has changed little for thousands of years.

Gold leaf works well on storefront windowsToday, gold leaf is usually found in architecture, fine art and commercial enterprises. In addition, it is found in the sign industry. As a handcraft, Paxton Signs uses the same tools now as when the Egyptians created their magnificent art. The incredible durability of gold surpasses other traditional applications such as vinyl and paint. Consequently, gold will outlast those products by many years. Incredibly, since it is resistant to most chemicals and weather conditions, it can last for 20 years. Some Egyptian gold treasures are still in pristine condition after 5000 years!

Is gold leaf a good choice for your business?

Traditionally, professionals like lawyers and doctors prefer gold leaf. Businesses that want to project upscale appeal, such as horse enterprises, jewelers, resort areas, boutiques, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and golf courses, are well served by utilizing gold leaf. Additionally, owners of vehicles and boats may desire upscale graphics. They find that gold’s sumptuous sheen and durability is, by far, the best choice.

Gold leaf enchances business signsSo, gold leaf? Or, not to gold leaf?

The investment you make in your marketing efforts says a great deal about your business. Further, it speaks volumes to your customers about your image. Finally, consider the additional years of useful advertising that gold leaf offers. By using the professional sign design services offered by Paxton Signs, your choice “to gold leaf” will be one you will be happy with for many years.

We specialize in communication art!

Paxton Signs’ more than 39 year history includes hundreds of signs. Some are major monument signs, some small business signs. We’ve created ranch signs, lighted signs, signs made from recycled wood, hand-painted signs, carved signs, vehicle and fleet graphics – a continuous variety of communication art, serving Fort Collins, northern Colorado, and surrounding mountain communities. For more on the history of gold leaf, visit, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_leaf

You can view Paxton Signs’ quality gold leaf signs at, www.paxtonsigns.com/dimensional-signs/

View our Galleries by using the menu bar, above. Contact us at  970-221-5519

Paxton Signs – Crafted Signs – Plain or Fancy

• Sandblasted • Hand Carved • Hand Painted • Hand Lettered • Gold Leaf • Storefront • Dimensional • Residence • Vehicles • Murals • Logos • Identity

When Should You Update Your Sign?

when should you update your signWhen should you update your signs? All business owners ask themselves this perennial question.

Signs are essential to your company’s marketing efforts. A good sign tells your customers what you do and what sets your business apart from the competition. It’s the first impression they have of  your business savvy. It follows, then, that outdated, shabby signs aren’t going to help you attract new, admiring customers. The question is: how can you tell when it’s time to give your business signs a face-lift? When should you update your sign? Although an extreme example, the Parkside Candies sign, pictured, gives you an idea of a long-overdue update. But let’s dig deeper:

Most business owners face a particular challenge: the weather. The sun beats down relentlessly for part of the year. Then snow, rain and wind can wreak havoc during the other half. Consequently, signs wear and age differently, based on their environment. But, they ALL wear and age. The reality is, your sign’s life span will be shortened by weather extremes. When paint peels, colors fade, elements fall off, and weather takes its toll, it’s time for a new look and a new sign.

Check your signs for wear. If they’re faded, rusting, peeling, or losing pieces, you should think about replacement. You can even upgrade your signs by using materials that are more durable and long-lasting. This will add years to their life and usefulness.

Are You Changing Branding on Other Platforms?

If you’re revamping your logo, changing your slogan, or maybe re-branding to capture a new corner of the market, it’s time to consider upgrading your signs. Whenever you update other platforms, such as your website or packaging, your signage should be included.

How Do Customers Perceive Your Business?

Even if your signs are standing the test of time, it still might be time to update. A fresh, new look, brighter colors – a new focus – could be the jump-start your business needs. Remember, influencing customer perception is always crucial. Nothing grabs a customer’s attention like a new, beautifully designed storefront sign. It’s easy to freshen and update vehicle graphics and secondary vinyl signs as well.

Are signs easy to update?

The thought of tackling a redesign of your business signs may sound intimidating. However, the process isn’t difficult. In fact, Paxton Signs will guide you through the process for a pleasant and rewarding experience.

When should you update your signs? Chances are – now! When you work with the professionals at Paxton Signs, you can achieve uniform quality and branding for your marketing program. We’re ready to help update your business signs.  Call today to get started. We’ll help transform your old sign into a new, eye-catching design!

Check out our boards on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/boliver0474/
View our Galleries at www.paxtonsigns.com, or by using the menu bar, above.
Contact us at 970-221-5519

Paxton Signs – Crafted Signs – Plain or Fancy

• Sandblasted • Handcrafted • Hand Carved • Hand Painted • Hand Lettered • Gold Leaf • Storefront • Dimensional • Residence • Vehicles • Murals • Logos • Identity

Hand Lettered Angled and Curved Text

Hand Lettered Angled Curved TextHand lettered, angled and curved text: Which way? How much? How far? Good question. Most of us take text for granted. We see it nearly everyday of our lives starting from a very young age. Its purpose is universal.

Text allows societies to transmit information and share knowledge. Without it? Chaos. Although, there is a certain amount of chaos, due to the sheer variety of text images worldwide – Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Korean, Russian, etc. However, for the purpose of making signs, we’ll focus on English and its artistic treatments found in our culture.

Enter: The Sign Makers!

Sign makers have perfected artistic text. Specifically, we’ve done this by adding dimension, flourishes, faux finishes, and creative alternatives. However, the industry’s most significant contribution is form. This means the shape of the text block and its direction.  Furthermore, with the advent of computer graphics software, creative sign designs have flourished. Still, hand-lettering skills have held their own. These applications run from plain to fancy, including hand-carved gold leaf. Although traditional hand applications are still used and revered, combining them with computer-assisted designs now proliferates the industry. The results are spectacular.

A logical, predictable pattern

But, which way? How much? How far? If we consider using angled text on a sign, we make sure that it always angles ‘uphill’ (with the right side higher than the left). It simply looks better, and ninety-nine percent of angled text finishes upwards. See how this works in the SweetSpot Guitars graphic. Next, curved text should follow a logical, predictable pattern. It should curve no more than twice. One curve has sufficient impact, as shown in the Letterheads Signs and Show Cards graphic.

Hand Lettered Angled and Curved Text example

As sign designers, our challenge is to fit text into the available space and in the most beautiful and effective way possible. Even though most signs use horizontal text – since it’s the most readable and designed to be written in horizontal lines – the world is overloaded with it. So, every now and then, an angled or curved text element can catch people’s attention simply because it’s different.

We specialize in communication art!

Paxton Signs’ more than 39 year history includes hundreds of signs. Some are major monument signs, some small business signs. We’ve created ranch signs, lighted signs, signs made from recycled wood, hand-painted signs, carved signs, vehicle and fleet graphics – a continuous variety of communication art, serving Fort Collins, northern Colorado, and surrounding mountain communities.

Find us on Pinterest at, https://www.pinterest.com/boliver0474/

You can view Paxton Signs’ quality gold leaf signs at, www.paxtonsigns.com/dimensional-signs/

View our Galleries by using the menu bar, above. Contact us at  970-221-5519

Paxton Signs – Crafted Signs – Plain or Fancy

• Sandblasted • Hand Carved • Hand Painted • Hand Lettered • Gold Leaf • Storefront • Dimensional • Residence • Vehicles • Murals • Logos • Identity

Vertical Text Do’s and Don’ts

Vertical text do's and don'ts Cal State vertical bannerThere are no hard and fast rules about text direction in the sign industry, at least as far as we know. However, there are opinions. Some are based on historical book and print examples, others on human nature. For example, what direction would most people tilt their heads to read vertical text? What about stacking letters? Even if there is no definitive rule about text on signage, there are a few vertical text do’s and don’ts.

The western world reads left to right.

Most vertical signs and banners run text from bottom to top. Logically, the reason for this is that most of the western world reads from left to right. We naturally tilt our heads towards the first letter of the text that would appear on the left. If we rotate our heads 90 degrees, that’s where we would start reading. Consequently, we read upwards to a satisfying finish. It’s awkward to read text where the first letter starts at the top and reads down.

Having said that, text on book spines runs downwards. Therefore, some sign makers will justify running text in that direction. After all, it’s readable when a book is lined up on a bookshelf. However, sometimes books are stacked horizontally. Obviously, top to bottom title placement is necessary in order to read them horizontally from left to right.

The crucial consideration is that book spines are displayed within close eye proximity, AT EYE LEVEL OR BELOW. But signs aren’t books. So, a good rule-of-thumb might be to favor the human nature option. That is, if the text is to be read ABOVE eye level, then it should run from bottom to top.  If the text is to be read BELOW eye level, it should run from top to bottom.

Vertical Text Do's and Dont's on Chicago signWhat about stacking letters?

Stacked letters have a history all their own. Traditionally, this is a method found on many of America’s old theater and drugstore signs. The practice dates back to Art Deco innovations during the early 20th century. However, most graphic and sign designers will discourage the format. This is what Ellen Lupton of, Thinking With Type, says:

“Roman letters are designed to sit side by side, not on top of one another. Stacks of lowercase letters are especially awkward because the ascenders and descenders make the vertical spacing appear uneven…Capital letters form more stable stacks than lowercase letters. Centering the column helps to even out the differences in width.”

Essentially, we agree with Lupton. The exception we make is if the sign’s cachet is intended to recapture the Art Deco era or other historical timelines. As Lupton notes, if stacked letters are used, use only caps, never lower case. In addition, the letter count should be minimalized. Less is more!

Vertical Text Do's and Don'ts on Paxton antiques signReadability and graphic interest come first.

Paxton Signs’ challenge is to fit the necessary text and information into a sign’s available space. We try to do this in the most attractive and effective way possible. And, we always try to honor vertical text do’s and don’ts. Obviously, most signs use horizontal text, since it’s the most readable. However, for graphic interest, vertical and stacked text can be an option, but only when it’s used for the right reasons. Paxton Signs’ ANTIQUES sign, shown here, is an example of period art utilizing stacked text. The letter count is acceptable, and the art elements and styling add to the sign’s cachet.

See more text ideas on our Pinterest boards at, https://www.pinterest.com/boliver0474/

We specialize in communication art!

Paxton Signs’ more than 38 year history includes hundreds of signs. Some are major monument signs, some small business signs. We’ve created ranch signs, lighted signs, and signs made from recycled wood. We specialize in hand-painted signs, carved signs, vehicle and fleet graphics. We offer a continuous variety of communication art. Paxton Signs serves Fort Collins and northern Colorado, and the surrounding mountain communities.

View our Galleries at www.paxtonsigns.com. Contact us at, 970-221-5519

Paxton Signs – Crafted Signs – Plain or Fancy

• Sandblasted • Handcrafted • Hand Carved • Hand Painted • Hand Lettered • Gold Leaf • Storefront • Dimensional • Residence • Vehicles • Murals • Logos • Identity

Real Materials or Affordable Imitations?

Should your sign be made from real materials or affordable imitations?

A hundred years ago, members of the Arts and Crafts Movement adopted a philosophy called ‘Truth to Materials’. This meant they used the most appropriate material for any application. In addition, they emphasized the quality of the materials rather than hiding it. For example, the Movement thought it a shame to cover a beautiful oak floor with synthetic oak tiles. Needless to say, they would not appreciate today’s plastic siding that’s used to imitate wooden boards on a newly built house. For them, the deception was and is apparent.

real materials or affordable imitations Paxton Signs cowboy signIn the sign industry, imitations are now its stock-in-trade.

There is a long history of making one material appear to be another. For example, consider rolling a coat of primer onto a wooden panel.  By doing this, you have already begun to hide the innate qualities of the wood. What’s more, gilded elements give the false impression of being solid gold. Painted drop-shadows and highlights give the illusion of dimension. Furthermore, crackle-varnish and stain make a new sign look like a weathered artifact. Interestingly, these imitation techniques are now the stock-in-trade of the sign industry.
real materials or affordable imitations closeup of Paxton Signs cowboy sign

The Movement probably would take a dim view of today’s techniques

No matter how well executed, these faux techniques would not appeal to the Movement. However, as the fine artist adds paint to a canvas until the canvas itself looks like a landscape or portrait, so the sign-maker applies his skills and tools to make a substrate look like something it isn’t. Real materials or affordable imitations? Ultimately, customers like the affordable substitutes created by a talented sign-maker.

How we made the Cowboy Collectibles sign

Paxton Signs’ faux-weathered wood sign for Cowboy Collectibles in Estes Park, Colorado is an example of faux wood. The painted sign measures 4’x 6′. The panel is 1/2″ thick, medium density, overlay signboard. We custom-cut it to shape. Then, we prepped the sign board by sealing the edges. Next, we primed it with two coats of premium grade primer. Finish coats are oil based enamel. We hand-painted all lettering, graphic effects, faux finishes and illustrations with oil based sign lettering paint.
See more of Paxton Signs’ imitation and faux techniques on our Pinterest boards at, https://www.pinterest.com/boliver0474/

We specialize in communication art!

Paxton Signs’ more than 38 year history includes hundreds of signs. Some are major monument signs, some small business signs. We’ve created ranch signs, lighted signs, and signs made from recycled wood. We specialize in hand-painted signs, carved signs, vehicle and fleet graphics. We provide a continuous variety of communication art, serving Fort Collins, northern Colorado, and surrounding mountain communities.

View our Galleries at www.paxtonsigns.com.  Contact us at 970-221-5519

Paxton Signs – Crafted Signs – Plain or Fancy

• Sandblasted • Handcrafted • Hand Carved • Hand Painted • Hand Lettered • Gold Leaf • Storefront • Dimensional • Residence • Vehicles • Murals • Logos • Identity

ORDER PERSONALIZED SIGNS NOW FOR CHRISTMAS!

Paxton Signs’ residence and cabin signs are unique, useful and always memorable. However, if you want to surprise your loved ones in time for the holidays, order your personalized signs now for Christmas. Hand-painted or sandblasted, personalized art elements or a simple name and address, we’ll help you design it and choose colors and format. We offer many templates in many sizes. We can personalize with illustrations, gold leaf, faux finishes, colors and clever quotes. Hand-carved and sandblasted signs are always popular. In addition, a non-dimensional, painted sign can be embellished with favorite photos of people, pets and places. So many options!  So much fun!

Take a look at our boards on Pinterest at, https://www.pinterest.com/boliver0474/Call today for a consult at, 970-221-5519.  Order your personalized signs now for Christmas! We’ll have it ready in time for the holidays.

Visit our galleries at, www.paxtonsigns.com.

Paxton Signs’ more than 38 year history includes hundreds of signs. Some are major monument signs, some small business signs. We’ve created ranch signs, lighted signs, and signs made from recycled wood. We specialize in hand-painted signs, carved signs, vehicle and fleet graphics – a continuous variety of communication art, serving Fort Collins, northern Colorado, and surrounding mountain communities.

View our Residence Sign Gallery using the menu bar, above. Contact us at 970-221-5519

Paxton Signs – Crafted Signs – Plain or Fancy

• Sandblasted • Handcrafted • Hand Carved • Hand Painted • Hand Lettered • Gold Leaf • Storefront • Dimensional • Residence • Vehicles • Murals • Logos • Identity

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