Van Zee Sign Co.
New York City’s Van Zee Sign Co. is a sign painting business that specializes in hand painted and gold gilded signage. Will Van Zee develops lettering and layouts using a mix of traditional drawing and digital design. Clients range in size from neighborhood family businesses to global brands but represent some of the best food, hospitality and retail company's New York has to offer.
Some include the Brooklyn Nets, Microsoft, Filson, Chelsea Market, Harry Styles, Caffe Vita, Hotel Delmano, Cafe Colette, Hanoi House, Hoxton Hotel, Hungry Ghost Coffee, Court Street Grocers, Union Pool, Flyrite Tattoo, The Good Company, Petee's Pie Co, Oddfellows Ice Cream, Turntable Lab, Esqueleto, Sweet Pickle Books, Better Read Than Dead, Azaleas NYC, Rezdora and more.
I personally am a big fan of hand-painted signs and follow quite a few signpainters. Will Van Zee's company always stuck out amongst the others for their extreme quality, so I was happy when Will approached me to get some branding done for his business.
When Van Zee Sign Co. approached me they wanted a cat for their brand mascot.
I thought it was best to resemble a worker on the job. We started with some sketches and at first the cat was a tough Brooklyn alleycat. He looked a bit curmudgeonly and had a potbelly.
Wanting the character to be more friendly and somewhat resemble Will himself, our second round was an Alleycat that was taller, slimmer and happy to be on the job. As opposed to our first character, our revised cat loves what he does. The closed eyes show an air of confidence, also reflected in the character's stride. This reflects how great Van Zee Sign Co. is at what they do, helping clients feel they made the right choice.
Here's a finalized sketch of our mascot. We were all very happy at this point.
Next was the inking of the drawing. Some brands need a crisp clean vector mascot. Some need to show the hand in their line. I felt inking by hand fit this brand better.
Several mascot logo varieties were made for smaller applications to apply to mobile design along with small printed items, as well as a full large version.