Today, the word ‘primitive’ has become synonymous in the design world with anything rustic. Primitive signs are made to look old, simple, weathered and, in general, rustic or antiquated. Primitive signs are especially popular today with house and business owners who want to inspire a sense of ease and tranquillity in their guests and clients.
Designing the primitive
A primitive look is commonly achieved with the use of rough, untreated wood, such as pine or cedar. Because of the limitations when carving with wood, however, today’s primitive signs are often created with alternative materials such as the sign making foam HDU (High Density Urethane).
Primitive signs can use a number of design tricks to achieve the desired rustic effect, which may include:
- Detailed edging: A routed sign edge is a popular primitive effect, giving any sign added texture and all the detail of an antique.
- Rustic colouring: An easy, effective way to create a sense of the primitive is to limit the colour palette to sepia colours – faded browns, ochres, and other natural-looking colours give any sign a rustic look.
- Font: Primitive signs make great use of font to achieve an antiquated look. Typical primitive-style fonts include caveman-style etchings, serif fonts, or calligraphic fonts.
- Primitive language: The best primitive signs make effective use of language, which can be taken from real historic signs. Some examples are “General Store”, “Apples: 5c a bushel” and “Powder Room”. Using antiquated language from older signs gives any primitive sign character and aesthetic appeal.
Primitive signs are becoming increasingly popular as novelty signs, which may display a quote or witty phrase for the enjoyment of house owners and guests. Sentimental or humorous quotes benefit from the character a primitive sign brings to it, and make excellent decorative features when used as house signs.
Using archaic language in directional signs as part of a sign system can also create a wonderful novelty experience for guests to any home, farm or business.