Have you ever heard of Barney Bellinger? Apparently he makes signs. Hand painted signs, and you see his work all over Saratoga Springs. Not on the new signs but the ones that have been around for a while.
What is really interesting about his work is that is created in a very traditional way, by hand. No vinyl letters or color. He actually uses paint, hand carved letters, and pin striping.
Now, I don’t think you should stand around looking like a crazy person in the middle of downtown, but you might want to walk up to this sign and take a close look at the craftsmanship. The multitude of skills it took just to make this one sign is impressive. The type is spaced perfectly, hand carved and glittering with gold leaf. Design, Typography, woodworking and finishing, all in a four foot tall sign.
So who is this Barney Bellinger? I did some searching online and the sign company is located in Johnstown NY. They don’t have a website so you can’t find much about them. As far as I can tell Barney doesn’t own the company anymore, because he seems to be making furniture at a company called Sampson Bog Studios.
I would like to see some modern sign makers learn just a few of the skills that it took to create this sign. Here is a break down on why this is such a work of art compared to computer cut vinyl and machine printed signs of today. Sign companies have mistaken software and printer for good typography, gold leaf, and good overall design. You can still design great signs with a computer, but not only because you own a computer.
So here is a fifteen or twenty year old sign, that besides some weathering is almost new. It fits perfectly with the Victorian setting of Broadway. This is something to look up to if you are a sign maker or an artisan. It is the kind of sign that gets through the cities design review process in only a few minutes.