As frequent readers of this blog may know, one of my favorite pastimes while in Korea was documenting funny or misspelled signage. Oh the hilarity in misplaced commas and broken syntax. Does that ever get old? Now that I’m home, however, the English level of local shop owners has righted itself and the amount of unintentionally humorous signs has significantly waned. My interest in signs, on the other hand, has not. It has merely shifted its affections from “Erroneous Korean” to “Vintage American.” I’m speaking of course about old signs. The glitzy multicolored monstrosities of today’s billboards and shop fronts have no place in my world. It’s the weathered and worn signs that really do it for me. Old signs are not only easy on the eyes, but they also tell a story, a story of a time when hard, honest work meant more than gimmicks and flashy marketing. If old signs could talk, I imagine they’d sound like a cross between Sam Elliot and John Wayne, deep, gravely, and straight to the point. Yes, there’s something quite comforting about an old sign. Worn in and used, scraped up and tattered like an old pair of jeans, old signs always manage to look good, even if they’re making a joke about dipsticks.
*Check out this Flickr group for more pictures of awesome vintage signage.