The West End is famous for its independent, quirky retail community and the Small Sign, Big Message project was designed to inspire and give a boost to local shopkeepers at the end of a year unlike any other. The project aimed to highlight and celebrate the resilience, humour and positivity among the West End traders. We wanted to promote the diverse shopping opportunities in our community and to encourage people to buy local in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
The timing was difficult, most non-essential retail was closed due to government restrictions, but the shop keepers were happy for the project to commence. We engaged local sign writer Shane Johnstone, an artist well known to many in the West End for his excellent work on numerous projects over the past twenty-five years. He worked efficiently and quickly, an important consideration when the time frame was so short. He was tasked with talking to the business owners and worked with them to develop their ideas for the words to be painted on the windows.
The images were colourful, vibrant and very personal with each of the participating businesses featuring beautiful, unique, hand painted window graffiti, captured on camera by Morecambe photographer Johnny Bean, with shop keepers standing proudly by.
At the end of January, the painted windows, (lockdown has left many businesses closed, shuttered and inaccessible) were professionally cleaned as the closing part of the project.
The response from residents and business owners to Small Sign, Big Message, has been very positive with great feedback, and a willingness to be involved in future initiatives that contribute to the development of community pride and sense of place.
“We will clean it, don’t worry thank you. It’s been great, fab idea”
“Any other ideas you come up with let me know – be happy to help “
“I love my window -it’s a very sweet idea”
“Did you like my window slogan idea? I was very proud of myself”