When our Art Director, Gail Snable, travels through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula she heeds the impulse to pull over for old signs with handcrafted flair. Here’s a sampling of her photographs of these beloved signs, with a little backstory:
My junior year of college, I got a summer job at a sign shop—mostly to pay my tuition at Kendall, but selfishly because I loved hand lettering (way before it was cool) and wanted to get my hands dirty (because I’m a tomboy). This sign shop wasn’t just any sign shop. The focus was hand-carved and routed redwood signs as well as traditional hand-painted signs. It was named “In Other Woods”—not even kidding.
We did everything from large golf course orders to signage for locals’ cabins. This is where my fascination with vintage signs came to be—as well as gaining a second family that I love. They have since dissolved the sign shop, opened and recently retired from running The Old Spud Warehouse in Gaylord.
The signs I’m drawn to most are along US 2—they are amazing and have not given in to the vinyl or plastic of this era. I love those that are routed with retro fonts. My favorites by far are signs with cutout letters adhered to unusual and creative backgrounds. They are classic and loved.
Pro Tip: Shoot Retro-Style
These were photographed with the Huji Cam app. Says Gail, “If you don’t have it, get it! It gives a little digital time stamp and the streak of light we would get from the old-school cameras of the ’70s.”