Recently, I got to work on a historical sign update in Collbran, Colorado. On February 1, Mesa County Libraries installed new window signage at the Collbran Branch Library. Paying homage to the history of Collbran, the new signage is a unique addition to the library.
Thanks to a Historical Society Grant in 1995, the Collbran Branch was relocated to the Stockmen Bank Building on Main Street, Collbran. The original Stockmen Bank opened for business in 1916 and the building was remodeled to its current form in 1929.
The Collbran Branch maintains much of the original charm of the 1929 remodel including the original bank safe dated to 1908, interior wood molding accents, iron work surround the exterior windows and door, and decorative brickwork on the front facade, including “Stockmen’s Bank” in blue and white terracotta frieze.
While the building itself is a beautiful example of early twentieth century western architecture, it has proved challenging to rebrand it as a Mesa County Libraries location. The building was added to the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties in March 8, 1995, so major modifications were out of the question.
Working with the Town of Collbran (Stockmen Bank building owners), we were able to get approval to add a window signage to building to help identify the building as a library, and prominently display library hours.
In an effort to match the charm and historical nature of the building, we threw out our style book and focused on designing signage that would have been historically accurate to 1929. Specifically, we sought to replicate the hand-painted, gold leaf signs often found on bank, salon, and barbershop windows from that era.
Using historical photos of Plateau Valley and other western towns for reference, the design focuses on the word “Library.” Large, gold block serif letters scroll across the top of the design, and are framed by hand-drawn ornaments. Mesa County Libraries colorful sunrise logo was redesigned as a two color, gold and black logo to help unify the sign to the existing building elements.
Working with a sign vendor we were able to find on a vinyl material that replicates a gold leaf texture, while still being affordable and durable enough to hold up to the weather elements. The overall look is pretty stunning, and adds new sparkle to the Stockmen Bank.