5 Design Lessons from a Shoe Repair Sign

On a recent field trip to DIYpsi, the Modern Animal team explored downtown Ypsilanti. We came across a clever, historic sign that advertised a shoe repair shop. This sign has endured years of extreme Michigan winters and still remains intact.

Vintage Advertising- Ypsilanti

I’ve been fascinated with vintage signs like this one ever since I was a child and my aunt gifted me a rusty tin sign for “Gallant’s Feed Store,” (our family name.) I value old signs because they are typically made by hand, from sturdy materials, and proudly displayed for many years.

In comparison, many ad materials produced today, such as sponsored Snapchat filters, are flashy and fleeting. These images typically cost over $600,000 and last only 24 hours before they disappear into the digital realm.

As a non-profit marketer, I strive to achieve the optimal balance between traditional and digital media in each campaign. From this sign, I extracted the following lessons on design and marketing:

  1. Design with the intention to make a lasting impact
  2. Communicate your offerings and value in simple words
  3. Experiment with nontraditional shapes and negative space
  4. Proudly display your work for your community to see
  5. Incorporate fun elements and a little weirdness in everything

At Modern Animal, we apply design thinking to every aspect of our work.
Our creative experts can help you make beautiful and impactful campaigns.


*Featured photo by

Tags: , , ,