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Family heritage art

My husband is Costa Rican, with some Italian heritage. His great great grandfather and family came to Costa Rica from Italy, and they were jewelry makers and watch repairers. Our home has many bare walls in need of artwork, and I thought that instead of buying a fake vintage shop sign, I would make one. The problem is, his ancestors did not have a logo back whenever they were in business as far as we know, so I have to come up with one. I've actually been thinking about it for months and have gotten nowhere, so I am excited to see what might come out of this class. Heck, I'm excited to finally get to play with Illustrator.

What I'm trying to create is a late 1800s-early 1900s wooden sign, with the words "Joyeria Molinari" (Molinari jewelry shop) or "Relojeria Molinari" (Molinari watch shop). Perhaps I could include the words Costa Rica and/or San Jose, and I would love to have a "desde 1890" or something, but I haven't gotten enough information from mis suegros (inlaws) about when they might have operated. It will be a work of historical fiction in some sense, but I think it will be fun nonetheless.

I'm stuck though on how I could include an image; originally, I had been thinking of a watchface, as the literacy rate in the late 1800s would not be 100% and I imagine that any signs may still have relied on images as well as names. Costa Rica was very European (thus native symbology would not be appropriate), and also very simple in its art and fonts that were used on money, signage, and records, from what I can find.

From the links the instructor provided, I like these two fonts, as well as the designs around them:

And I'm partial to art deco, but I know that would not have been big down there at the time (Costa Rica has never been a big cosmopolitan place), but perhaps some frill and flair is ok in the spirit of late 19th-century nationalism, and it would be more interesting than simple letters.

My early sketches:

Gah. Sorry they are sideways. I want to make sure Molinari looks nothing like Marlboro, as I realize it kind of does in these last sketches. I will take any suggestions :-)

UPDATE:

I took a screenshot of my recent attempt, but it shows up tiny. I'm completely new to Illustrator and haven't figured out how to save the image as a jpeg. It's not done yet anyway, but I'll take feedback on design and color if you can see anything. I haven't figured out how to move the bottom rounded text down to the opposite side of the path so it matches with the top. I watched a video, but it was the old version and I couldn't tell what tool they used. They typed a negative number somewhere and it moved the letters. Anyone know what that was and how I can do it on the latest version of Illustrator?

-Jessica

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