In this day of overwhelming and constantly in-your-face advertising, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the age-old vocation of traditional sign writing might soon be forgotten.
But that’s not the prediction of Bridlington’s Paul Banks, who says his bespoke and handcrafted work is now more popular than ever before.
Working for clients across the north of England, Paul is part of an ever-growing movement of creative businesspeople who are capitalising on a new-found love and appreciation of “artisan” style branding and lettering.
“The main thing is that I’m actually trying to make the town look nice. That’s my main point. I’m trying to promote businesses in Bridlington.”
As we chat, Paul is busying himself drawing a new ‘selfie wall’ at the Wise Guy’s restaurant, on Promenade. One of his faultless murals already adorns a wall in the rear - it’s easy to understand why his talent is held in such high regard.
And you’d be hard pressed not to come across at least one piece of Paul’s work in the resort. From restaurants and cafes, to tattoo shops and even boats - Paul’s work is plastered pretty much everywhere in Bridlington.
Paul said: “In the time of great signwriters, you could tell a guy from his style and each town would have a different look, because of their signwriter.
“He would dictate the commercial taste of the town.”
But vinyl took the 1990s by storm and, for many designers, handwritten work took a back seat.
Paul believes today’s resurgence in traditional methods of signwriting comes form a “backlash to generic signs”.
He said: “20 years ago, I would be on my own in Bridlington doing it. Now it’s a worldwide thing. In the early 1990s it would 100 per cent vinyl.
“There’s a lot of signwriters on Facebook now. I’m interacting with people in America, so obviously there’s a lot of support in the community.”
It is connecting younger generations and potential clients with the traditional ways that is key to Paul’s success.
And while Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are platforms that may not initially spring to mind in promoting such a traditional trade, Paul believes they are integral.
In fact, he has more than 4,500 followers on Instagram alone - all of whom are able to see him in action.
“A lot of people take it for granted and think it’s vinyl. But I can put a video online and people can see the craft of my work”, Paul explains.
“They can see that it is all hand done.”
“I have been consistently busy for the past three years and 99 per cent of it has been with the brush and hand.
It is clear then, that the brilliance of Paul’s work is not lost of younger generations - the primary users of social media.
But could the public’s fascination with the old ways wane as it did when vinyl took hold more than 20 years ago?
Paul says: “I don’t know whether people will get tired of it. People will always need signs.”
And he’s right. People will always appreciate the visually stunning and people will always be drawn to talent like Paul’s.
He added: “For me it’s a vocation. It’s not like working.”