Personal Touch: A Lost Art

August 25, 2019

I enjoy technology. It is fun and frustrating and rewarding to learn something new. It is amazing what technology can do for us as marketers and professional communicators.

I love certain “old school” tools used in communications like writing a personal note to clients, prospects, and friends to say “Thank you.” I am frequently told during phone calls (more old school) with friends how much they cherish these notes.

Speaking of “old school,” I just had a new “old school” experience and it was incredible. I have been thinking of having the Draper DNA icon reproduced as a piece of art behind by desk. The idea was to create a background for the increasing number of video calls occuring. I looked at several options that were all cost prohibitive mostly because of the need to frame them (think a large 3’x3’ print). In an effort to save the idea, and some money, I purchased a canvas, paints, and brushes at Michaels to take this adventure on myself. Fast forward three months with a blank canvas hanging on the wall and I decided to stop fooling myself and look for a local artist to do the work.

Where does one find such a person? Google, of course. Since the painting was more a sign than a portrait, I searched for a “sign painter.” What I learned was hand-painting signs was quickly becoming a lost art. Apparently, it is easier to run your digital file through a color printer than have an artist paint your sign. Luckily, Google found Suzanne Bircher, a retired sign painter, in a small town south of Raleigh. I called her, explained what I was trying to achieve, she accepted, and I jumped in my car with canvas in hand to meet her.

Suzanne is a modest person with a huge talent. Her studio is in the tack room of her horse barn. She explained there is little demand for her hand painted signs. Once a full-time job, Suzanne is retired and is occasionally asked to paint a sign from “someone in the city.”

Here is the sign Suzanne painted of the Draper DNA icon. I think this hand painted piece of art is beautiful. Like the handwritten note, this painting is special and now cherished. Thank you, Suzanne.

I believe this lost art may have a place in our future, a future that includes the appreciation of the personal touch.


Disruption can be big and loud or it can be subtle like writing a personal note or creating a hand-painted sign. Learn to challenge the status quo to create something special and uniquely yours. This is our goal at Draper DNA to Disrupt. Surprise and Delight.

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