Category Archives: Typographic finds

Typographic finds #4

A little selection of typography found on the cottages around St Ives, Cornwall:


Typographic finds #3

This shop in Oxford has probably changed hands many times since it was called simply ‘Office’, yet the buildings historical purpose remains on show. The building itself is a lovely 1920’s art deco style, and the etched design on the side window fits into the shape of it beautifully.

But it doesn’t stop there. In the doorway is a mosaic that serves as a welcome mat, just to be sure you have the right place. I imagine in it’s day, the shop had nothing more than the subtle etched window and the stylish mosaic. Certainly no plasticated, neon lit, shop front sign of modern times. On a visit to Lisbon in Portugal a few years back, I was struck by how all of the shops on their high street had their name and design identity mosaicked into the doorway, just like this. I guess these days (certainly in the UK) shops are never around long enough for them to go to this sort of expense and trouble, but wouldn’t it be nicer!

Typographic finds #2

A small typographic tour of my partners home town of Ulverston:

I love that this old typographic ad has not only survived, but has been repainted and maintained. Even though I doubt very much you can buy Abbey Sauce in the local Tesco Express these days. I wonder what it tasted like? I think they generally rely on a different kind of delicious, stimulating tonic in the town these days.

A classic typographic treatment for the local opticians is painted on the front of their building. I love the subtle shades of grey which match the window frames.

The old ‘drug store’ on the corner still has a list of supplies wrapping around the building above the door. I hope this always remains a pharmacy so that this isn’t lost to history.

Quite appropriate that Gill Cycles is set in Gill Sans. It’s not just that though, I love the mechanical feel of the letters that could almost be made of spare bike parts. And they look especially¬†good against that blue background. Pity about the plastic sign below.

Lastly, I wanted to show one of the many murals which are spreading around the town. I really like them, they certainly brighten up the dark alleyways they occupy. I especially like her (more on the artist here) typographic style, and so felt justified in adding this.

Typographic finds #1

This is a subject that will probably become a regular feature, hence the #1. Typographic finds, which could be anything or anywhere, but more often than not they’re those hand written or hand painted signs that are completely unique to anything computer set. I find them very interesting. Some are terrible, with bad spelling or grammer, or (pet hate) a mix of capitals and lowercase letters, or they’ve not been thought about ¬†before hand, and the letters end up squashed on the end where they’ve run out of space. But some are well done, and very creative.

I think they say a lot about the person behind them. I found these signs (pic above) a few yards apart on the same wall, though I’m sure they’ve not been done by the same person. I love that the one on the left still has the guidelines left behind, which shows a bit of forethought, and the ‘will be removed’ has been italicised for emphasis. This says clear authority, stern, no messing. Whereas the one on the right is much more friendly, almost apologetic. A very sweet handwriting style with added flick serifs. Nice, but hard to take seriously.

Either sign would have caught my attention, but I find the contrast between them quite amusing.

I love hand painted branding or advertising, something you don’t see often these days. What a shame we don’t have them on the end walls of terraced rows anymore. I spotted this one on the end of a canal barge – incidentally canal boats are a great source of hand painted typography – more on that to come. I’m not sure why the ‘& Smokeless’ has been done in a different style, but I like it. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for more of these.