Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2015

Tess Barber
Barber Signs
Tess Barber
Barber Signs

How do we hold onto that which is valuable? As time evolved, handicraft techniques that were once significant and integral to local culture have turned into something that is no longer paramount. Cultural heritage no longer fulfills a purpose in preserving craft expertise that’s been applied to a wide range of design, and has assisted in shaping America’s landscape. Technology and environmental transformations are happening at such a rapid rate that we fail to notice the effects it takes on us daily. How can we make people see and appreciate everyday objects in a new light? Barber Signs offers a glimpse into the realm of dying arts, ranging from traditional sign painting and pinstriping to airbrushing and neon. All of the pictures shown depict a visual representation of these traditional arts, as well as a chronological summary of the oeuvre of my father. Content-wise, the book features a previously unseen personal archive of material including images, illustrations, and an extensive interview. It is the first visual compilation on his career, in which he inadvertently captured a generational change in America during the 1980s and 1990s.


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