Custom Vinyl Window Lettering: Main Street Placerville CA
Signage in the Historical District of Main Street Placerville is relatively restrictive with the intention of preserving the “old town” look. The majority of businesses are along 3 or 4 blocks of a narrow two way street. Most visitors park and leisurely walk up one side and down the other browsing in stores that capture their interest.
Placerville CA, originally known as Hangtown, is one of California’s original gold rush towns located just miles from where John Marshall first discovered gold. Main Street Placerville retains its “old town” ambiance with historical buildings, “the oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi”, Placerville Hardware, and businesses plying “nostalgic” wares such as old fashioned candies at Candy Strike Emporium and a variety of antique stores.
Green Sparrow, a Main Street purveyor, is filled front to back, floor to ceiling with unique merchandise ranging from locally made soaps and jewelry to refurbished or repurposed antique furniture and décor. The challenge for the owner was how to let passersby know what Green Sparrow had to offer. The only allowed exterior signage was a 2ft x 3ft hanging sign and window lettering.
The hanging sign, very reminiscent of signage from the 1800’s was, unfortunately, placed very high up on the building: too small to be read from a distance and too high to be read by people strolling along the sidewalk below. In summer, displays outside the shop attract customers but that’s not feasible all year long. Her best option was using the store’s windows to draw shoppers in.
One section of window was parallel to the street, the other at an angle in towards the door which had the advantage of being readable from a distance to pedestrians walking eastward. The store logo was placed high enough and large enough on the window that it was visible to pedestrians across the street and to passing vehicle traffic. The font used for the store name on the hanging sign (show font) did not translate well for window lettering due to the tiny lines inside the letters. A different but complimentary font was chosen. The store owner chose the words GIFTS, JEWELRY…. A couple of proofs with different 1800 era fonts were presented and she chose (font). The xx” white letters were eye-catching and readable from a distance.
Many businesses forget that their window space can be used for advertising. Most regulatory agencies don’t put a lot of restrictions on window lettering or graphics. Permits are not usually required. The most common restriction is that, purportedly for safety reasons, typically only 25-30% of the window can be covered up so police / fire respondents can see inside the building. Since not all stores are required to have windows for this purpose, it’s somewhat unfair that stores with large windows have to keep them clear.
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