Looking for Trouble: Understanding Amphora

Steven Vigeant owns Berkeley Signs, a commercial sign company serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1985. Visit his Web site at BerkeleySigns.com or contact him at Steve@BerkeleySigns.com.

*Please click images below to follow Steve through a slide show of the project.

The Amphora storefront in Layfayette, California, specializes in artisan olive oils and vinegars from around the world. Ironically I didn’t find out what an amphora was until the final installation. Even as I carved the black amphora I didn’t know that it was the name for an Italian oil container. The entire project was a series of learning curves that varied greatly from the times I had a good grasp on what I was doing, to others when I was probably missing something. As it happened, it was my idea to place the circular logo in the eaves like we did, and yet I wound up spending hours with the architect, city and client so that it could be accomplished. I had a good idea, but I couldn’t implement it until I could justify it all with paper plans that the architect was very particular about.

Ultimately I wound up getting a detailed critique in plan’s drawing. I used to get upset when something like this would happen at an official desk, another damn “reality-shoe” ready to drop on my inspiration, but now I count my blessings if someone is nice enough to help me improve rather than scold. There is no longer an obvious way to improve our skills making unique signs. So in order to develop our imagination and implement our ideas, we are compelled to learn from varied sources.