November 03, 2023 1 min read 2 Comments

A few of our friends urged me to write a book about my lighter designs and share my design process. While a book might be too much right now, I'm excited to showcase some designs on my blog. Here's our first post on the inspiration for our Zippo Retro Sign design.

I really enjoyed creating this design. It incorporates many elements that I love about Mid Century Modern artwork and Googie architecture...simple shapes, clever use of space and line weight, and interesting color palettes. 

My goal was to create a sign that you would expect to see in Bradford, PA in the late 1950's. The text 'Windproof Lighters' was an easy decision, but I knew I needed one more catchphrase. I found the text 'Distinctively Styled' in a Zippo advertisement from 1948 and it was just what I was looking for!

To create this design, I had to get permission from Zippo to use their name and trademarked flame logo. I was delighted to receive their approval and thrilled with the final results!


This rendition shows the first concept for the background shape and color.


1948 Zippo advertisement with 'Distinctively Styled' text. 

Thank you Andy Handke for showing this photo on your website 😀



The finished design!

2 Responses

Don and Kathie Phillips
Don and Kathie Phillips

November 05, 2023

Wonderful Blog! We printed it and will create a Riley’s 66 notebook that captures the history of each of these delightful lighters. You really nailed it on the style of the era….yesterday, we were at an antique mall in Lincoln, Nebraska, and there was a booth that had framed photos of Lincoln in the 1950s. One of those photos was of the Welcome to Lincoln sign, and I noted that it was the same style of sign as the Zippo sign on your lighter! Thank you for writing this blog….it was a great way to start a cold Nebraska morning….a steaming cup of hot coffee and a Rileys 66 blog!

Steve Payne
Steve Payne

November 05, 2023

I really like this design and would love to have a high polish chrome with this design. Great job Chuck

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