Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Street Typography: Mack the Knife - Meghan Matty Interview

This is a rare treat and a bit longer read than normal but for the first time ever on the path I get to interview another type lover. Meghan Matty, originally from Vancouver Island and now living in Vancouver, took this great photo of a hand painted address. Again I see the basis for a great typeface and hopefully you see the potential too.

59amblepath: What was it about this "2840" address that initially caught your eye?

Meghan Matty: The first thing that caught my eye was how awesome the 4 was. It looks like some sort of knife. Also, it was on Halloween night at around 3 in the morning when Thomas and I were walking through an alley when we came across it. It's just painted on a fence in some strange dark alley. Pretty cool.

59: If a street address is done in a unique way, what does it say to you about the building or people inside it?

MM: I always love when street addresses are a little bit quirky. I assume the people inside love typography as much as i do so i in turn love them. and want them to be my friend.

59: When did you first get interested in type?

MM: I have always loved type but never really became obsessed with it until we were in school. It was then that I really started noticing different fonts, and how diverse they can be. It also showed me how much I hate papyrus.. and jesus. everyone uses it. Avatar even used it! I thought that movie was pretty rad until the subtitles came up and they were in the cheapest, lamest font known to man... Anyways, I digress.

59: What are currently some of your favourite typefaces?

MM: Fave typefaces? I will always love Helvetica Neue Ultra Light.. oooh so pretty. Also I enjoy apple li gothic (Futura Demi) just for the fact that the lower cased j is straight.. just like how i write them! Every day I find myself on free font websites milling around, downloading whatever I can in the hopes that I can use them in some sort of project. I am more partial to san serifs in general but if I had to pick a serif that i love it would be falstaff.

I want to thank Meghan for allowing me to use her photo and answering my questions. If you're interested in her work, check out her website

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Street Typography: Get A Grip

Hard to see from the street, this address has seen better days. The idea of using door handles as a canvas for address numbers might have been better in theory than in practice; If you're opening the door, hopefully you're at the right place. It was #6 that caught my eye though. Whether the carver made a mistake or the wood chipped off over time, there is something interesting about that really thick curve (or lack thereof). It could almost be inspiration for a new display type based on Helvetica. Typeface: Helvetica Bold.
*Thank you to Elaine Song for taking this photo.
**If you see any street address that you believe should be featured on this blog please send it too

Monday, March 8, 2010

Street Typography: Brass Serif

Smooth like they've been tumbled by the ocean for a millennia, these brass address numbers are from another time. I can almost see the hands of the blacksmith, cracked but strong, working these numbers into perfect curves. This address made me realize something about type in the 3D space. A serif typeface has so much more going on in depth than a sans-serif. There are no true "corners" like there would be in a three dimensional Helvetica. I wish ink would dry just like these numbers protrude from the wall. Typeface unknown. Any guesses?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Street Typography: Walk The Plank

There is something attractive about using rough, often hidden construction materials as design elements. This steel support beam could hold up a lot more than two numbers balancing on a concrete slab. For such a quaint street lined with patios and beer pubs, this street address fights for attention like a heavy weight champion. Its size alone has its opponents beat. At night the front face of the 70 lights up, giving the illusion that it is simply floating. Brilliant. I think the designer increased the pt size of the #0 and altered the bottom of #7. Tight kerning. Futura SC Medium.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Street Typography: Let's Get Vertical

First off, if you've been to Japan you've seen this style of signage everywhere. The buildings have a different commercial business on every floor and need to advertise it with vertical billboards. Here in Toronto, on Front Street, this low rise has just gone vertical for style points. Perhaps this is a band aid for whatever lies behind. I think it is eye catching to the passerby and gives an older building a contemporary touch. Futura Extra Bold.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Street Typogrpahy: Industrial Style. Big and Bold.

What would appear to be an industrial bay door is actually a residential garage. My friend Cody showed me this gem in East Vancouver. It is similar in function to 59 amblepath but obviously more sophisticated in execution. My guess is Helvetica Neue Black. The 8s throw me though because the necks are not as deep as helvetica. Any guesses? A great address nonetheless.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Street Typography: The 59 that started it all

For the past year I have been learning to love type and hate type, to love Helvetica and hate Comic Sans. It was this month that I recognized a use of typography that often goes neglected by passers by. On a trip to visit my girlfriend's relatives, both architects by profession, I was confronted by a garage door scarred by spray paint. The house was in the later stages of construction and not yet painted. To make sure everyone could find the newly built house, the owner sprayed a giant 59 on the garage door. It wasn't a stencil. It was free hand or some could argue custom type. It reminded me of a great use of painted address numbers I'd been shown in Vancouver. It might be a future consideration for this house when ready for its real paint job.