The Vigilant Robot

a watchful eye of creative complexity

Tag Archives: lettering


I decided to create a monogram for myself. I wanted something simple, just my initials nested within each other nicely. A-S. This is what I came up with.


AS pencil



AS digital




I use the blue (teal-ish) monogram on my portfolio and website without a circle, but since it is standing alone here, I’ve included that. My website has finally been updated, sort of, but all of the kinks haven’t been fixed yet. It’s not the most responsive site yet and @font-face doesn’t seem to be my friend right now. I will fix all of that soon.

(or VR… I’ll make one of those soon, too.)


I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead in Love (hand-lettering)

Inspired by lyrics in Tricky’s song,  “Does It” featuring Francesca Belmonte, I decided to sketch the letters of a line that really grabbed my attention: “I wouldn’t be caught dead in love; I wouldn’t be caught dead in love.”





“Does It” by Tricky featuring Francesca Belmonte

“We are the protesters, the slogans and signs,
this will be a swift decline,
I wouldn’t be caught dead in love; I wouldn’t be caught dead in love…”

Hand-lettering: War of Error

I love hand-lettered work. I love typography. I just enjoy looking at well-made letterforms. I rarely make my own letterforms, however, other than the occasional sketch of a letter when I’m bored. I enjoy drawing letters, so why do I not spend more time doing so? Confused, I decided that I am going to do some hand-lettering every week.

Here is week one: War of Error.
The “War on Terror” is a war that keeps on going; it has no end. Does it even have a clearly defined beginning? In textbooks, yes, but in reality, I’m not too sure. There’s a lot of stuff going in in the world right now and people seem to have forgotten that we are still screwing things up in other places, some old, some new. I have been thinking about Iraq and Afghanistan lately, wondering about their turmoil. This is what I felt like hand-lettering.





Aged, but not Lost: The Art & Power of Sign Painting

“You can make that brush do anything that you wanted to. That’s power. That’s real power.”

Released this year is “Sign Painters,” a new documentary about sign painters and their aged, but yet not completely lost, art. Sign painting is much more fascinating and beautiful than some think; it is a highly underrated skill, always taken for granted. Think about how many signs you have seen in your lifetime. How many of those signs did you think were printed versus how many you thought were hand-painted? Many signs you have probably seen and did not know that someone actually painted those lines and curves so perfectly, near flawlessly, and so beautifully; you probably thought the sign was printed. Now, doesn’t that take skill or talent to paint letters that are so smooth and well-aligned that it appears to be printed with ink through a machine?

I have not seen the documentary, yet, but as you can see from the trailer below, those who have specialized in making signs for years can always tell a well-made sign from a mediocre sign; a well-made sign, even if from vinyl, can be made only by someone with the experience and background as a sign painter. Technology does not really teach craft. Craft is something one learns by hand. Chances are that someone who has bad craft will produce bad work even with the aid of technology. A trained eye will always be able to tell the difference, and so will some untrained eyes, as well. Even though modern printing has, for the most part, displaced handmade text-based work, sign painting is still alive (even if not completely well or apparent). Thankfully, young people are studying sign painting from the older, well-experienced painters, and keeping the trade alive. The next time you go for a walk, just look around you in an area where there are a lot of signs. Look for a hand-painted sign and a sign made from vinyl lettering. What is more aesthetically pleasing to view? Or, if you can barely see the hand-painted sign any more, what would be more aesthetically pleasing to view? Seriously, how can vinyl possibly be more beautiful or even worth a glance compared to something handmade? It’s vinyl! As one of the sign painters says in the trailer below, “Old signs become art. I want to make signs that turn into art.” Besides, watching a painter fill in the sketched letters of a sign is very relaxing…or maybe that is just the typography nerd in me.

Take a look at the official trailer for “Sign Painters” below:

You can check to see if it will be playing in your area this summer at

I hope to see it soon!