Humbug Neon Shop Window Sign with a Christmas message
Every year, our Creative Director, Paul, really gets into the swing of Christmas at home, putting on his very own personal pantomime for the neighbours. This gave Paul the original idea for the neon shop window sign that illuminated our studio in the 2019 Shoreditch winter.
“Last year I filled my back room with thousands of candles, old stuff everywhere, cobwebs, even a ticking clock – tick tock, tick tock. Then I dressed as Scrooge and told stories by the fire, leaving the back door open so that the cold would make everyone huddle. We had this hilarious moment of some new neighbours who didn’t know me walking in on this weird, deadly quiet scene, wondering where on earth they’d just moved to.”
As usual, we couldn’t keep our Christmas mitts off of Paul’s sense of humour and he built our new shop window sign with the ethos of Ebenezer too. In a sea of forced corporate festivity, we decided to beam some pretty damn lethargic seasons greetings into the frosty night, offering a little amusement to our local community with ‘Merry humbug blah blah blah. And a creepy crawly 2020’ written in vinyl lettering under a distinctive neon sign.
“Being neon, the sign is pulsing with this electric energy, lit by luminous gas-discharge tubes, but the content is slow and sluggish – it’s the antithesis of the design aesthetic and of the spirit of Christmas itself. No, not everyone’s going to get it but that’s okay, I like these sorts of designs because it might just make one person chuckle, and the thought of someone stopping and actually taking it in, that’s what gives me pleasure.”
Above the vinyl tagline, Paul has deconstructed Scrooge’s favourite phrase ‘Bah Humbug’ in all sorts of ways and reworked it into a neon sign; dropping the ‘Bah’ altogether, spelling out the word ‘HUM’ in clean caps typography and popping a bug icon underneath. We like to think Dickensian curmudgeon’s everywhere would be uncharacteristically pleased with this rather literal breakdown.
Wordplay comes naturally to Paul, who can often wake up with ideas tumbling out of his head, so has to keep a notepad next to his bed. That’s not really a surprise. He’s the son of an inventor and spent much of his early career sharing office space with a journalist and the guys who made Alex – a cartoon strip in The Independent renowned for its puns and twist-endings.
“We worked freelance together in a small back room, all about 17-18 years old. It was naturally a creative environment, a wordy environment.” This has led to stores of quirky festive abstractions just waiting to be realised at Glyphics, so watch out for the Missile Toe and Mince Pie r².
Back to this little beauty of a passion project – taking into consideration the width limitations of neon glass, Paul chose to build the insect up out of lots of little pipes for a fragmented vintage look. He then framed everything with a triple layer of lines to match – the stripiness a nod back to the traditional hard boiled humbug sweet, of course. Finally, he picked the minty combo of green and white for the perfect retro colour scheme and encased it all in an acrylic box that now hangs in pride of place, in the hope that our window of wit and nostalgia makes your walk past that little bit warmer this winter.