Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Typographer Walks in Brooklyn

A lot of footwork went into Paul Shaw's article for AIGA, Lettering Grows in Brooklyn, published on Wednesday. It was with shivers of excitement that I took the virtual tour of the borough with Mr. Shaw, learning typographical references like versal, uncial, and batarde, feeling insecure about my monumental ignorance, but bolstered by the occasional typo. The article discusses 5 or 6 examples of lettering found in a wide smattering of Brooklyn neighborhoods including East Williamsburg, Bushwick, Greenpoint, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Sunset Park. (Next time drop by Windsor Terrace and tell us your thoughts about the George's Haircutting sign, oh please.)

It is not a surprise that someone would be driven to write an article which savors the craftmanship that formerly went into lettering as the newer examples are so lifeless. Paul Shaw notes that "websites devoted to ghost signs seem to be a growth industry," later expanding on that topic when he writes "Ghost signs are not only reminders of past products and services but they are examples of sign painting, a once-thriving profession that is now under assault. For the past thirty years the design and fabrication of signs has been increasing computerized." That is one valid soap box.

I found this article by way of craig's list; I noticed that someone living around the corner from me on 17th Street had a queen sized platform bed for sale. They turned out to graphic designers and writers who run an enterprise called Under Consideration, which offers several design blogs - Speak Up, Quipsology, (which linked to Shaw's article), Brand New and The Encyclopedia of Design. So the platform bed came with 3 drawers and 4 blogs. I love those craig's list extras!

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