Meet Ross and Aidan from Smart Casual Signs, keeping the lost art of gold leaf signs alive in Perth

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A good sign is worth its weight in gold (leaf) – just ask Ross and Aidan from Smart Casual Signs.

After working on a few different projects over the years, the two came together at the beginning of this year to join forces and “try to bring something new to Perth and Perth businesses.”

That something is high quality, hand-painted signage for some of your favourite local businesses, with a focus on gold leaf gilding, an ancient art form that dates all the way back to Turkey around 8000 years ago!

Smart Casual Signs Perth

Good signs are not only good for business, they’re good for communities – creating an authenticity, vibrancy and longevity that offers a sense of pride when you’re taking a walk around the neighbourhood.

We sent Ross and Aidan a few questions to find out a little more about the process, and what work of there’s we should be keeping an eye out for on our next Sunday stroll:

Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions – first up can you tell us a little about who you are and what you do?

We are Smart Casual Signs, we’re two mates with a passion for all things hand painted signage, gold leaf, murals and branding. We became friends through a mutual love of lettering. From there we worked on a few projects together over the years and quickly realised that the combination of our backgrounds (Ross coming from a branding and design background, and myself from a graffiti and signage background) worked really well together. So at the start of this year we decided to officially join forces and try to bring something new to Perth and Perth businesses.

Smart Casual Signs Perth

Among other parts of the business, your work crafting gold leaf signs is pretty unique to Perth – can you tell us a bit about it?

Gold leaf signage is our biggest passion and our main focus for the business at the moment. It’s a craft steeped in tradition, and one we feel privileged to be a part of and contribute to. The results it produces are like nothing else. It has a warmth about it, it’s romantic almost. You can’t not look at it when you see it, there really is no comparison to a beautiful gold leaf sign. While we absolutely love the finished product, we love the process equally as much. Whenever we get the opportunity to bring some gold to a project, we will.

What’s the process for a business getting a new sign done, how long can it take?

Basically just hit us up! Either through the website or our Instagram. Time frame depends on a few things, size of the project, how much design is involved, and our current schedule. But usually you’re looking at around a 3-4 week turnaround, the more notice the better!

Smart Casual Signs Perth

This is a very broad question, but what are some of the key elements to a great sign?

Layout is key. At the end of the day, the sign needs to perform its function first. So when we’re designing signage, no matter how intricate or beautiful it’s going to be, this is something that we consider first and foremost. Colour choice and brand alignment are other factors that influence the direction. You want everything to tie together nicely so you have a considered, cohesive design. One of our biggest strengths is knowing good design. We’ve been in the graphics, branding, and mural industries for some time now, and this business really feels like the culmination of all those years.

And why would a business come to you over potentially cheaper options?

To be frank, it’s just a better product. Hand painted looks better – it’s got character, it’s got soul. It also lasts much much longer than vinyl. Vinyl has a lifespan of five-seven years before it turns. What we do will last decades. There’s a saying in sign painting, ‘Painted signs age, vinyl dies’. Painted signs will take on a beautiful life of their own as they age and patina, whereas vinyl will curl up and flake off if it’s out in the elements. It’s also better for the environment!

Smart Casual Signs Perth

Secondly, we care. We treat every job as if it was our own business. This is our passion, so working with us you’re going to get a bespoke service, catered specifically to your business and its success. We understand good signage can be a significant investment, so we want to ensure this investment pays for itself as quickly as possible, and will last a lifetime.

What are some of the signs around town you’re most proud of? (We know picking favourites isn’t fun, so let us know a few if you like)

Yeah tough one! We’re really proud of all the work we’ve done. But if we had to pick a few, probably Bosuns Barbershop in Fremantle. Their entire shopfront is now hand-painted, with loads of gold leaf, and a couple of different techniques used. Stay tuned for more projects with those guys. Another would have to be Satchmo Cafe in North Perth. Nathan gave us our first opportunity to do gold leaf signage, so that job holds a special place in our hearts. Lastly would be The Butcher Shop in Northbridge. Drew and Aimee really let us do our thing, we also did some tee shirt designs with them for that project, which are available now actually!

Smart Casual Signs Perth

And what about murals – both ones you’ve created or just murals of note you really like?

We haven’t actually done many murals lately, while we’re focusing on raising the profile of gold leaf signage in Perth. But again, Satchmo gets another mention here. We really enjoyed painting the mural on the side of the cafe, we feel it really fits their aesthetic. In terms of murals we like, we’re big fans of Sam Bloor‘s work, as well as Kyle Hughes Odgers, Amok Island, Art by Destroy, and many others.

Finally any Perth artists you’d like to shoutout, or anything else you’d like to share?

It would be remiss of us to not mention the OG’s of the Perth signage game, Mick Haines and Cameron Gordon. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with those guys since starting Smart Casual. They’ve been killing it for a long time, with very little social media presence, just out there getting it done. We’re actually heading to rural WA soon with them for a big project, so we’re super excited about that.

Smart Casual Signs Perth

Also the guys at Overtime Design, we’re big fans of their work, and they’re great blokes also. There’s a good little hand painted sign community starting to develop in Perth, and we’re really passionate about fostering that and watching it continue to grow.

We’d also just like to thank you guys for taking an interest in what we do! And also about raising the profile of hand painted signs in Perth, so thank you!

Follow Smart Casual Signs on Instagram / Image Credit: @sargon_studios

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