An unusual use of words to say the least.
Take a look at this piece of suburban street lettering, taken in Australia in the past few weeks. It is of a kind that can be found almost anywhere.
This is lettering at its earthiest, lettering that has withstood frequent potholes and a motorist doing a wheelie. Yet the message remains: this is a 40km/h zone.
Street signage is all about readability, about ensuring the viewer/motorist understands the pictogram. When UK road signs were being redesigned in the 1960s by Calvert and Kinnier there was a clear imperative to ensure there was no ambiguity. However, some 50 plus years later in Australia I encounter these, minus hands and feet:
How much more satisfying is this, with both hands and feet – anatomically perfect!
Adrian Frutiger passed this life on 10 September 2015. Read here for an obituary.
I previously wrote about Frutiger here.
In his Signs and Symbols he writes of the value of ‘interior and intermediary space’. Designers take especial note. ‘The beauty of a sign,’ he writes, ‘is often the result of a struggle between the resistance of the material and its conquest by the instrument…By contrast, the Oriental way of thought and expression…puts the creative act more into the mastery of a gesture with which the brush lays the sign on paper’. [Studio Editions, London, 1989, p.101.)
I did not know of Frutiger’s personal life so as a mental health social worker I find he lost two daughters to suicide prompting him and his partner to establish a foundation
Images from my week. These were taken in Brisbane, Australia. The first at a train station – a nice display of cast letters (heavily covered in paint – be great to see that taken away and the true letters revealed once more) representing Queensland Rail and used as a brace for a seat; the second a metal plate in the road covering services – lovely use of the cross bar in the capital A as a functional element for inserting the rod that will remove the cover for inspection; the third some quirky figures (‘biffo man’) at pedestrian crossing. Great to see such inventiveness.
Having noticed recent interest in a post first made in September 2011, I belatedly follow up with another taken during my productive vacation the other month. Regular readers will have noted my comments on Dorrigo (click here if you missed them), but on the way to that township we went through the larger outpost of Bellingen (30.4333° S, 152.9000° E).
It was in this place that I spotted the rather wonderful cast-iron lettering shown here, which adorned, by the looks of it, a late-nineteenth haberdashery shop (the sort of emporium that sold everything to the local population unable to make the trip with any frequency to a city).
Now I have been scouring my books, in particular Bartram’s The English Lettering Tradition from 1700 to the present day (Lund Humphries, 1986) and Nicolete Gray’s Lettering on Buildings (The Architectural Press, 1960) and XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages (Faber and Faber, 1938) and make the observation that what we have here is what the former describes as ‘decorative’ and the latter as ‘Tuscan style’, though most definitely Victorian in origin. (For more on Gray see here.)
Its origin, she continues, may be traced to fourth century Rome and ‘one of the greatest of letterers, Furius Dionysius Filocalus. The name is undoubtedly a pseudonym and expresses the man’s attitude to his work: conscious, devoted and expressionist’. This example (below) comes from the Catacomb of St Calixtus, Rome and is taken from Lettering on Buildings – a must read for any serious student of typography.
The other images above are taken from Lettering and XXIXth Ornamented (another volume to add to the Christmas wish list).
So, from Bellingen to Rome in one fair sweep.
But for how long? In Australia we continue to have mail delivered (at least where I live) by posties riding a classic Honda CT110, though this institution is threatened by replacement by something greener – the Super Cub.
Nevertheless, the logo will remain designed by Dutchman, Pieter Huveneers.
And how long a postal service? Probably longer than anyone imagines as we still need those items ordered over the internet to be physically delivered to the door.
Unless Google fills the sky with its drones…
Note – in the photo of the mailbox when enlarged you will see the postie accelerating away in the distance.
For earlier post on Australian stamps see here
…and with a nod to a more famous, if less morally coherent place on the west coast of the USA.
The standing letters, about 1.5m tall, celebrate the opening of a new art gallery near me, named after Margaret Olley (1923-2011). The gallery, part of the Tweed Regional Gallery, in northern NSW, Australia, was officially opened last week to much fanfare – a speech by the Governor-General no less, who had known the artist for many decades and spoke movingly of the artist, her life and her work. As this is not an art blog I will leave you to seek out more on Olley, but click here as a good starting point.
Simply a designer. I came across his work at an exhibition at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. Not a name familiar to me but I was struck by the posters he and his team designed, and shown here. For more information on the work see here