What's Inside Issue 04 of BLAG (Better Letters Magazine)?

Between the covers of the adventures in sign painting in Issue 04 of BLAG (Better Letters Magazine).

Hand holding a magazine with the person's torso visible behind in a burgundy jumper.
BLAG 04, now with 80 pages (and a spine). Photos: Edgar Gonzalez.

BLAG is now even bigger, with 80 advertising-free pages filling Issue 04. It takes us to 18 countries on six continents, and through time, as we continue our adventures in sign painting craft, community, and culture. And, once again, there's a limited edition poster inside.

Thank you to the dozens of contributors that have made BLAG 04 the biggest (and perhaps best) yet. Read on for a look inside.

BLAG Meet: Inside Issue 04

BLAG Meet is a free, online event that provides an opportunity to meet contributors to each issue. Here are the recordings from BLAG Meet: Inside Issue 04.

Watch the Recordings from BLAG Meet: Inside Issue 04
Over ten hours of talks, interviews, studio visits, and demonstrations from contributors to BLAG 04.

Bonus Material

Members can also check out this bonus material.

Bonus Material from BLAG 04
Bonus content from the adventures in sign painting in Issue 04 of BLAG (Better Letters Magazine).

Magazine cover with a masthead that says 'BLAG' and a man sat down painting a picture underneath.
Deadly Prey's Stoger in action on the cover of BLAG 04.

Cover Story

The cover shows the Ghanaian sign painter Stoger working on a commission for a tattoo parlour in Australia in collaboration with Chicago's Deadly Prey Gallery. The gallery is profiled in one of BLAG 04's main features, which tells the story of a commercial artform that emerged alongside Ghana's mobile cinemas in the 1980s.

The feature runs across eight pages, plus the poster insert which was painted by Leonardo, a sign painter from Accra who sadly died before the magazine was printed.


The additional pages versus the first three issues means there are more articles and features, in addition to the regular columns and sections. The magazine is kept free of advertising by paying members, patrons, and sponsors, which means that every single page is dedicated to our adventures in sign painting.

Graphic of a magazine spread showing the contents on the right page, and the editor's letter and imprint on the left.
The BLAG 04 contents, showing the numerous articles, features, and sections that fill the issue.

On the Brush

There are a sixteen projects profiled in 'On the Brush', straddling commercial commissions, personal initiatives, and exhibition pieces. These come from Australia, France, India, Ireland, Pakistan, Spain, the UK, and the USA.

Personal Perspectives

One of my favourite things about editing the magazine is hearing, and learning, from different people and painters around the world. BLAG 04 is no different, with a variety of experiences and perspectives, including: Nisha K. Sethi on the power of protest signs; Noble Signs' David Barnett reflecting on his type design education; Gaston Castagnet telling the Architect Casuals story; and Archie Proudfoot basking in the glory of his Shed of the Year prize.

Some of these contributors have also written for bl.ag online. Check out these articles: 'Painter Kafeel: Keeping it Hand-Painted in India' by Nisha K. Sethi; 'Noble Signs in the Ascendency in New York' by David Barnett; and 'Going Clear: Clients and the Prison of Commissions' by Archie Proudfoot.

Lessons Learned

Gustavo Ferrari delivers the fourth instalment of his 'Secrets of Fileteado Porteño' column: the frames of Fileteado Porteño. There is also educational content from Dapper Signs (originally published here), and the latest alphabet from Rob Cooper: 2 Pencil.

BLAG 04 then includes the first of a regular column, 'Doing it the Right Way', with Right Way Signs' Alex Perry giving guidance on the business of signs.

Check out more Fileteado Porteño in Gustavo's online course.

Enjoy a Free Fileteado Porteño Lesson from Gustavo Ferrari
Start learning the Fileteado Porteño artform via the new online course from Gustavo Ferrari.

Historical Records

A remarkable archive of an Amsterdam sign painting firm sets the scene for the latest in the 'Ye Olde Sign Shoppe' series, while 'Ghost Sign Corner' takes us to Winnipeg, Canada, for more adventures in Light Capsules.

There are then two Letterform Archive contributions; a close-up look at the Milwaukee transit passes from the middle of the twentieth century, and a review of their new book, Die Fläche.

BLAG Back Issues

Catch up with past issues of BLAG (Better Letters Magazine) on the new Back Issues page.

BLAG (Better Letters Magazine) Back Issues
Back Issues for BLAG: Adventures in Sign Painting Craft, Community & Culture.

People & Places

The Dingles Fairground Museum is the latest 'Lettering Location', and we also get to 'Meet the Letterheads' in Brussels and Copenhagen.

Jenna Homen's 'Shop Talk' column contrasts sign painting business models from Canada and The Netherlands, while Alice Mazzilli looks at the enduring medium of the wall for her latest 'Interowriting' piece.

In addition to Austria's Die Fläche, the 'Book Club' comes with despatches from Colombia, Hollywood, India, and Los Angeles.

I've added Die Fläche and Hand-Painted in LA: Some Los Angeles Signs to the collection of books in the BLAG shop.


As always, there's a bunch of miscellaneous stuff filling the last few pages, including: a gilded spelling mistake from Vienna; a real wall dog; 'Wise Words' from Singapore; a cartoon; and Scot Campbell going 'Back to the Future' to critique the work of his younger self.


More than 60 contributors from around the world made BLAG 04 possible, and it was once again a pleasure to collaborate with so many brilliant people. Thank you all.

Nothing happens without the members, patrons, and sponsors that fund all the work that goes into the magazine. Thank you! If you're not one already, then join today and receive everything above delivered directly to your mail/post box.

Back page and inside back cover of a magazine.
Featured bl.ag online articles and details of contributors, sponsors and patrons in BLAG 04.

Thanks also to the wonderful team that brings the final print magazine to fruition: Jenna Homen on sub-editing; Utile Studio on design; SYL L'Art Gráfic on print; and Ra & Olly on distribution.

Fonts in Use are Aktiv Grotesk by Dalton Maag and Utile by Sibylle Hagmann from Kontour.

Top half of a man's face smiling while the lower half is obscured by a magazine called BLAG.
A man and his BLAG.

Back Issues

BLAG (Better Letters Magazine) Back Issues
Back Issues for BLAG: Adventures in Sign Painting Craft, Community & Culture.