Skip to main content
Resilient small business owners inspire artists to reimagine the “Open” sign

Resilient small business owners inspire artists to reimagine the “Open” sign

“Open” signs available for download

Artist Image

Staying “open” has taken on new meaning in the last year for nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States and others globally. The struggle has been especially tough for small businesses owned by women and people from historically marginalized racial and ethnic communities. With traditionally less capital and resources for a disruption as unexpected and as prolonged as the pandemic, their small businesses have been disproportionately impacted during COVID-19.

A universal symbol for small businesses — the “Open” sign — has taken on a new meaning this past year and represents much more than it used to. With the help of three artists, commemorative “Open” signs have been created for small business owners who, despite all odds, persevered throughout the pandemic.

Introducing the artists

Our artists’ stories are as unique as those of our small business owners.

Have your own story about how your small business made a way this year?  We’d love to hear it. Share your story on social media using @wellsfargo and #OpenForBusiness.

Deborah Lee

Deborah Lee

Deborah Lee (she/they) is a queer Korean-American illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. After leaving the tech industry, they built an illustration career within the editorial and publishing industries — their debut graphic memoir IN LIMBO will be published from First Second in 2023. To create their “open” signs, Deborah uses vivid abstract and metaphorical imagery to depict the small business’ origins and inspirations.
Deborah Lee (she/they) is a queer Korean-American illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. After leaving the tech industry, they built an illustration career within the editorial and publishing industries — their debut graphic memoir IN LIMBO will be published from First Second in 2023. To create their “open” signs, Deborah uses vivid abstract and metaphorical imagery to depict the small business’ origins and inspirations.
Download your open sign
Download your open sign
Gabriela Alemán

Gabriela Alemán

Gabriela Alemán is a visual artist, writer and organizer born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District. Resonating with the aesthetic of comics, folklore and pop art, her work consists of boldly colored images that range from protest art to reimagined cultural iconography. Self-taught, she grew up experimenting with various materials and mediums as a means to explore her experience as a first-generation child of Nicaraguan and Salvadoran immigrants in the U.S. Throughout her practice, she’s devoted herself to use the rich colors in her communities to bring visibility to the Central American diaspora and to redefine what it means to be a multidimensional artist in today’s digital age. To create her “open” signs, Gabriela threads the narratives of the featured small businesses and the joy that they bring to their respective communities.

Gabriela Alemán is a visual artist, writer and organizer born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District. Resonating with the aesthetic of comics, folklore and pop art, her work consists of boldly colored images that range from protest art to reimagined cultural iconography. Self-taught, she grew up experimenting with various materials and mediums as a means to explore her experience as a first-generation child of Nicaraguan and Salvadoran immigrants in the U.S. Throughout her practice, she’s devoted herself to use the rich colors in her communities to bring visibility to the Central American diaspora and to redefine what it means to be a multidimensional artist in today’s digital age. To create her “open” signs, Gabriela threads the narratives of the featured small businesses and the joy that they bring to their respective communities.

Download your open sign
Sophia Yeshi

Sophia Yeshi

Sophia Yeshi is a queer Black & South Asian illustrator and graphic designer based in Brooklyn, NY. She’s a digital native that discovered Photoshop at 12 years old while growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. She created Yeshi Designs to shine a light on Black women, women of color and folks in the LGBTQ+ community of all shapes and sizes that are bold, dynamic, and demand attention. Now, she creates culturally-relevant work centered around topics she’s passionate about like climate change, mental health, body positivity, and self-confidence. To create her “open” signs, Sophia researches each business to get a feel for their story and who they are, and pulls aspects into her art that would resonate not only with the featured business, but with other businesses as well.

Sophia Yeshi is a queer Black & South Asian illustrator and graphic designer based in Brooklyn, NY. She’s a digital native that discovered Photoshop at 12 years old while growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. She created Yeshi Designs to shine a light on Black women, women of color and folks in the LGBTQ+ community of all shapes and sizes that are bold, dynamic, and demand attention. Now, she creates culturally-relevant work centered around topics she’s passionate about like climate change, mental health, body positivity, and self-confidence. To create her “open” signs, Sophia researches each business to get a feel for their story and who they are, and pulls aspects into her art that would resonate not only with the featured business, but with other businesses as well.

Download your open sign