Traditional Signwriter Nick Garrett – Typeface Design

By London sign writer Nick Garrett

Typeface design is something top signwriters pull up every stroke of the day.  Each curve struck by custom made chisel edged signwriters brush, follows a memorised pattern or cutting-in profile.  For example Helvetica has a completely different DNA to Franklin Gothic, Univers and Gill sans.  An experienced writer holds this programmed information and differentiation like a digital plotter.

Recently I was asked by a leading brand to write a shop fascia using a font with a loose Victorian poster hand... with a modern twist.

I knew exactly what was needed… but while I was writing this wibbly font (or peotica sans as I termed it), my subconscious was going nuts!  Protesting on my left hemisphere while my right forged this subtle but beautifully bad logo!

Below:  the ‘wibbly’ font which drove me nuts writing!  Look at the rough ‘S’ … looks great ensemble!

A recent brief from Ted Baker required me to construct a retro Typeface custom made for the job – the brief was to make it look eccentric and 1855 era! Below is the finished product…

But adding flair and eccentricity is what is required today as clients seek out the hottest brand ID… the rules are changing and rules are often out of the window.

Below:  recent brand logos, buttons and banners by Nick Garrett, NGS

making it real together

Classical Logo design is still crucial, as it focuses a host of useful typographic and creative skills: technical thinking and creativity combined.

Inspiration breeds success if held to client brief.

It is the difference between being a traditional sign-writer and a top notch sign pro.


Font work - fine tuning Gill, Nick Garrett

Above:  Gill sans with some optional extras …

Gill Sans is a tremendous English font based entirely on the classical structure of Roman serif.  Ingenious sans serif borrowing from rich Latin origins.

We are a clever lot… those Romans….

Blockies to look out for:

  • Franklin Gothic Bold
  • Gills Sans
  • Univers
  • Swiss

Hope you like your hatchling NGS sign concept… feel free to get in touch or post a comment.

Best Nick 


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London sign writer Nick Garrett

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