A giant set of eyeglasses affixed to the façade of an optometrist’s office! A massive pair of scissors hanging over the door of a hair salon! Whether walking or driving slowly along city streets, or cruising a two lane blacktop at fifty miles per hour such symbolic, three dimensional signs always grab my attention. In a world where cleverly lit typography and slick logos pander to our eyes, such simple sculptures quickly convey a message and linger in memory as landmarks.
A shoe shaped sign displayed by a cobbler, an actual bicycle suspended in front of a bike shop, a carpenter’s workshop with its nameplate in the form of a crosscut saw, and an orchard with a large red apple atop its sign are among those I’ve encountered in my travels. My favorites include a multi-colored dog sculpted of sheet metal marking a pet groomer; a ginormous hand grasping a fork, spoon and knife over a diner entrance; and large ants crawling on the clapboards of an exterminator’s building. No need to spend time squinting at a few lines of creative lettering. I know instantly what these places are about.