Archive for category: Wayfinding


Finally. Since the rest of them pretty much do. But The Wayfinding Handbook by Gibson does not


Society for Environmental Graphic Design hires Pentagram to unfuck its site


Would you like negative sharp or positive blurry?


Touring Toronto subway type ’n’ tiles this Sunday


Why Chris Calori’s Signage and Wayfinding Design is shite (vague shite at that)


Just what it says: Stop the bastards from pulling down and shredding irreplaceable old signs


In which I ride the Toronto subway with Ronald Shakespear talking about nothing but signage! signage! signage!


I am methodically reading every remotely plausible book on graphic design and typography that can be borrowed from the Toronto Public Library, the world’s largest such system, with 99 branches. (If you recently went looking for the only circulating copies of Eye, I’m the one who snagged them.) I am, further, ordering everything under the sun from other libraries via interlibrary loan, which fails about four-fifths of the time but is still worth a go.

Recently, I read the three classic treatises on words/lettering in/on/& buildings/architecture (for their titles are merely permutations of those words and you could generate your own):

Two book covers on top of another book’s frontispiece
  1. Lettering in Architecture by Alan Bartram
  2. Words & Buildings: The Art and Practice of Public Lettering by Jock Kinneir
  3. Lettering on Buildings by Nicolete Gray

The books are a window onto a rare historical personage, the British design writer of the ’60s – top-flight academic training, apparently upper or upper-middle social class, yet dedicated to a marginal topic like writing on buildings. There is a certain traversing of milieux at work here, given that lettering on buildings comprises everything from

  • Grocer’s Apostrophe (APPLE’S AND PEAR’S)
  • to hand-lettering by sign jobbers (are they as Spiekermann describes British printers – a “Sorry, mate!” culture that merrily screws up and feeds you that line once you notice?)
  • to municipal wayfinding
  • to Trajan’s column

While not all those fields are covered in the books (I’m merely giving you a feel for the range of interests), all three writers really are obsessed with Roman inscriptions. Never have I encountered the word “Trajan” so often. (more…)

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