Type is about perception. Without being able to see its usage in the world around, one will never be able to create effective and powerful typography.
Part of being involved in type is looking around to see what is out there. In the Helvetica special features, Erik Spiekermann talks about his affliction by which he feels he must identify every font before actually reading it. Part of this, then, is to see what is out there and figure out what all is being used. That way you keep in touch with the “times” so to speak.
So, I’ve started trying to go around town as I am walking to work or out at lunch to see what interesting typography is out there. All in all, I’m rather happy with the variety and quality I found. I’ve put a collection of them on my flickr account, but thought I would talk about some of my favorites here.
This sign is one of the my favorites I found. It is totally hand made (check out the “A” character, you can still see the pencil lines from original sketches. However, despite its handmade nature, you can tell there was a lot of work that went into creating the letters. As a result, many of the letters look very close to one another. The baseline is very clearly defined and the S / G even drop slightly below the baseline appropriately. In addition, the creator made a really nice ligature for the “The” as well.
I’m having difficulty identifying the main font used for the “DAILY NEWS ADVERTISER.” It is similar to Futura and Nimbus, but the “S” is different from Futura and the “R” is different from Nimbus, so I’m not sure what it could be. Furthermore, the “G” is a bit unusual in a sans-serif.
This is one of the several photos that I took of this historical plaque on a building by Waterfront Station in Vancouver. I was rather taken by the font used on the plaque and thought there were numerous really beautiful letterforms. The “Q,” “R,” and “E” in particular have a really nice feel to them.
I have to say though, it was the “8″ that really captured my eye. The feel of the number is so nice, balanced and rounded. You feel like it is in constant motion despite the static element of the engraving.
The “M” bears a close resemblance to Waverly, but the “C” is totally different. Otherwise, I have been unsuccessful in identifying it. I really like the overall feel of the font and originally thought it may have been hand-done, but the inconsistencies in letter form is more likely due to the creation process, not a lack of consistent font.
Be sure to check out the flickr feed for the full collection of photos!