Signs by Umberto

Traditional signwriter based between West Yorkshire and Manchester specialising in reverse glass signs and gold leaf application.

All work © of Robert Walker - owner of Signs by Umberto.

Artwork except Knuckle on the pages Record Sleeves and Reading are not the work of Signs by Umberto and are on display only to showcase the inspiration to the sign writing.

All images copyright of Robert Walker 2017

I'm a munster in disguise.

I thought for this weeks blog post I would give a tiny insight into what goes on in the studio whilst I work.


The first thing I do is put the kettle on, nothing unusual there but maybe what is a little unusual for a sign writers workshop is the record player in the corner and the stack of records.

I LOVE music, and one genre that underpin a lot of my inspiration is Rock n Roll.

So after the kettle has gone on and the Yorkshire Tea bag has been flooded with boiling water, the record goes on.


I listen to music like a child watches films e.g. on repeat. I feel very lucky to have a technics 1210 deck in the corner of the workshop hooked up to a vintage amp and speakers all courtesy of The Amp Shack who now resides in Berlin, Germany.

Amp Shack is a personal friend and someone very close to me who builds vintage valve amplifiers.





Many a night we've had goofing around to bands like The Pretty Things, The Mummies, Flaming Groovies to name a few.





There's a mix of Amp Shacks records and mine in the pile that mainly consist of bands like the one's mentioned along with killer compilations from the like's of Stag - o - Lee records.


So the records goes on and I start to work/paint/acid etch or research.


It’s a wonderful genre is rock n roll, especially when it transcends into other genre’s like garage, exotica, titty shaking, popcorn vibes.


If it's not a record that goes on then I'll be searching out online shows.


Online stations who play all vinyl music like Radio Core and show’s on it like VRA and Steams Juke Box Shuffle are wealth of knowledge and inspiration for me.


I listen to these shows often whilst I work, and have had dedications on them.

These shows not only play good music, the DJ’s are clearly very into all corners of the cultural influences of the time the music was recorded e.g. 1959 etc


So listening to just one show will give me an in depth feel to the advertising of the day from buying houses to buying cereal, which are all related by the subject of type as sound clips flow through the show in between the tracks.

The DJ’s goof around in a style reminiscent to Herman Munster whilst dropping factual film clip interludes set amongst music that blows my mind.





Whilst I hear the tunes I see the type, on the cars, on the cereal boxes, on the for sale signs in the graden's of town houses and I can picture the teens rebelling against their parents.


The lyrics make me smile/laugh as well as fill me with ideas for signs or typographic exploration.


Thank you Radio Core for giving my ears so much pleasure and my mind so much inspiration.