My Story

As Paisley waved off its bid for UK City of Culture 2021, the bid documents themselves were all given a unique twist.

Artists, designers and groups with links to the town were invited to design bespoke front covers for the documents.

Bound with thread donated from Coats, the company to whom Paisley’s fortunes were tied and which is still a global force, each has its own Paisley inspired design.

As they are handed over to the judging panel of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport who organise the competition, we can reveal the inspiration behind some of the 25 covers.

Read Rachel Miller's story below.

Lettering designer and sign painter Rachael Miller’s chance observation of an ancient sign led to her discovering her own Paisley heritage.

Ad it was this remarkable coincidence that inspired her 2021 front cover sign design.

Rachel, 24, said: “My gran lives in Paisley and one day we were driving and I spotted a faded sign.

“It wasn’t painted but you could see where the letters would have sat on the wood.

“It so looked ancient that I mentioned it and my gran said ‘You know your great, great grandpa used to work in there as a joiner and cartwright. The sign said ‘G & T Houston Joiners Ltd’ .”


Rachel then researched historical archives going back to the 1840 in the Paisley Directory of the Houston Brothers company,  up to 1910.

She added: “I found that my great, great grandpa Robert Wright worked there from 1886 until the Great War.  I also found a record of his wife, who was a wine and spirit merchant at the time.

“So the ancient sign was the inspiration for my art work and I’ve used a similar style of lettering called Sans Serif."

Rachel says she hopes her story - and the UK City of Culture bid - encourages others to explore their links with the town.

She said: “I hope it inspires others to look into their own heritage, as Paisley’s past is rich in trades and changed Scotland as a country in many ways.”

Rachel’s work has also led to her being noticed by Paisley star Paolo Nutini who has asked her to design the sign for town record shop ‘Feel the Groove.’

She added: "There are so many exciting things happening in the town around the bid."