Pein­tre en Lettres –
Sign Painters in Paris

Some of the hand-let­tered sign-paint­ings you can find in the streets of Paris today were paint­ed more than fifty years ago, oth­ers are quite new ones. Proof enough, that there are still sign painters (in French: pein­tre en let­tres) in Paris fight­ing against the extinc­tion of their profession.

In the year 2014 Ker­stin and I spent a week doc­u­ment­ing old and new sign paint­ings for a student’s project. Fol­low us though the streets of Paris and immerse into the fas­ci­nat­ing uni­verse of sign paint­ing in Paris.

Col­lab­o­ra­tive project with Ker­stin Ull­rich.

A big THANKS goes to all con­trib­u­tors, who made this book possible:
Jean-Michel Drolon, San­dra, David Rager, Stéphane Casi­er, Tris­tan Kerr
and Bruno from BMD Stu­dio.

Pub­lished on:
dmig-logo Design made in Ger­many — 08.2014

Table of Contents


1. His­to­ry
The first chap­ter of our book is ded­i­cat­ed to the glo­ry times of sign painting.


2. Col­lec­tion
We spent a lot of time cap­tur­ing pic­tures of sign paint­ings all over Paris.


3. Por­trait
We met a pas­sion­at­ed sign painter who can still make a liv­ing from his profession.


4. Let­ter­ing
We spot­ted a con­nec­tion between the old pro­fes­sion and the upcom­ing hand-let­ter­ing trend.


When you stand in front of a Parisian shop with a beau­ti­ful han­dlet­ter­ing drawn on a win­dow, you can often spot the next sign paint­ing already at the adja­cent shop with the out­er cor­ners of your eyes. We used this obser­va­tion as our layout-inspiration.


Sign Paint­ing is often done on win­dow glass­es. It looks beau­ti­ful from out­side, but from inside you will expe­ri­ence the same work mir­ror invert­ed. We applied this con­cept on our cover.