Lowdown Lettering: The Hidden Craft of Roadliners

Celebrating the craft of the Roadliners, whose lettering on tarmac is hidden in plain sight.

Workers painting a 'SLOW' sign in white on a tarmac road.
Laying down hot plastic in Glasgow, Scotland.

'Hidden in plain sight' captures the essence of things in our environment that go unnoticed until we pay attention. Urban settings are full of these, and sign aficionados are constantly looking up for ghost signs on walls, and down for mosaic 'threshold' signs.

Two images of historic signage, one painted on a brick wall, and one with lettering set with mosaic.
Look up, look down: A (lost) ghost sign for Black Cat Cigarettes in London, and a mosaic 'threshold' sign for Maypole Dairies in Ludlow, Shropshire.

But there is another category of hand-crafted signage that can go unnoticed by even the most dedicated of sign spotters: road markings.