Traditional signwriting by Arne Barker

Here are some examples of traditional signwriting by Arne Barker. No artistic flair being used here, just a technical representation of each hand-painted signwritten character. The old style classic number plates shown here are supplied as “Show Plates”. Click on any image for a slide show. There is additional information at the foot of the page.
Modern registration plates use the Charles Wright font, this is compulsory on modern yellow and white reflective plates, and use 3⅛ inch letters. This size is not right for older vehicles which should be made with letters and numbers each 3½ inches high.
For hand-painted number-plates there were probably as many fonts or styles used for letters as there were manufacturers of plates, it was all down to the preference of the local signwriter that the motor dealer used when they first sold and prepared the vehicle for the first customer.
Here we have used a derivative of the early font or style used by the famed “Ace” number-plate manufacturer in the 1950’s. Each character is 3½ inches high by 2½ inches wide with the correct spacing and borders.
Note the serif on the 1 and the drop line on the G, research on this shows these details are sometimes included or excluded (sans serif).
Small note, the nice cast letter reproduction ACE plates available today are sans serif on the 1 and no drop line on the G.
Some of these photographs show the work-in-progress, letter and number layout on the black background and the painting process. Three coats of enamel are applied. Once complete, each character is varnished with signwriting exterior grade varnish to protect the work.
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