Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Week 1 - Local Typography Photos

Here are some typographic images I took over Christmas break in my hometown of Chardon, Ohio. The town is part of the Western Reserve (surveyed by George Washington) and maintains a New England-y/ colonial feel in all of the businesses and most of the homes around the town square.
A vast majority of the signage, from antique stores to lawyer offices, has a similar type style: a pseudo-classical serif typeface of some sort. The County Treasurer's office (in the old, restored Opera House) is representative, with two different Transitional faces. (Notice how the Opera House 3D letters are compressed, compared to the different, painted signage below.) You can tell they're Transitional rather than Old Style, from the vertical stress and the increased contrast between thick and thin strokes.

The Beans coffee shop begins with the common serif-style face for the logo and menu strip, adding a decorative "fun" typeface for the subheads. Using a decorative face for a logo is usually a bad idea, but the large, bold main face contrasts nicely with the decorative face, reminding us that while coffee is the business it is served in a fun atmosphere.

Knots is a craft store on the main square, and you can tell from the graphic what the business focuses on.
Again, the main face branches off the "ye olde" Transitional style typeface, although it uses a mixture of sizes for the different letters. Unlike the sharp characters in the other signs, this logo looks to be hand-painted both in the business name, but also in the script subhead below the skein of yarn. Note how the yarn is painted to flow in and out of the text, although it changes colors.

Lastly, I couldn't help photograph some laser-printed signs posted on the doors of the county offices... the offices with the nicely composed and beautiful Transitional typefaces.

Apparently it's not clear where you can get dog tags or pay your taxes, so the glass doors are cluttered with sloppy hand-made signs clearly made by people with not a lick of design-sense, in whatever font was handy. So, yes, the Auditor's Office will be closed, mainly because they use Comic Sans! Egads. The Dog Tag sign is just one of many where the perpetrator couldn't figure out how to add an arrow, so hand-drawn arrows were added with a marker. The font is Arial, by the way (look closely at the capital G.)

You can click on any image to see it at its original size.

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