How typography can reveal the culture of a place


This town is just your type.

Typography is everywhere around us, hidden in plain sight. The color and precise fonts used for the road signs have been studied and altered for decades, the whimsical lettering of the murals brings an artistic touch to the streetscape, and the old signs on even older buildings remind us that the city ​​is a continuum across generations. Some are not as nice, like mocking advertising or bad graffiti. But combined, they help to show the distinct identity of a place.

This Thursday April 27, louisville chapter from AIGA presents a talk by designer and author Nikki Villagomez entitled “How Culture Affects Typography”. She will discuss the guy in Louisville and his travels, contrasting the differences between place and identity using her own photographs and other photos taken by Louisville designers.

(Courtesy AIGA Louisville)

Villagomez wrote a book on the subject of his speech, titled Culture + Typography: How Culture Affects Typography, where she tackles the diverse world of ghost signs, manhole covers, graffiti, handwritten letters and all kinds of signs. (We have a copy in the Broken Sidewalk Library.) It’s packed with photos from across the country as well as Villagomez’s anecdotes and thoughts. It’s a visual delight for anyone interested in the little details that add so much richness to the urban experience.

Each city, Villagomez points out, celebrates a different side of itself. Miami residents love its Art Deco and neon signs, while Clevelander residents have more machined aluminum lettering, and San Antonians love their city’s old business signs teeming with Alamo references. She says traveling helps you see a fresh and new place – it awakens the senses – while walking familiar streets can blunt our sensitivity to the smallest details over time. “If you can go to a place where you are in this state of consciousness in your day-to-day life, in the city where you live, you will be more attentive to your surroundings.

(Courtesy of AIGA Louisville)

The event at the Tim Faulkner Gallery in Portland begins at 7:00 p.m. (with one hour of social networking preceding). It’s $ 5 for students and $ 10 for professionals. You can get more information at the event’s Facebook page here Where buy tickets here.

You can see Villagomez walking early Friday after his presentation. “It’s my routine in the morning after every conversation to wake up stupidly early and walk around the town I’m in,” she writes in her book. “I explore what each city has to offer and experience the culture firsthand. I carry a compact camera and my iPhone to document my findings… I just capture what catches my eye.

To learn more about typography in cities, see Villagomez blog here and his book. You may also be interested in an interview I did with designer Steven Heller on typography increasingly appearing on the monumental scale of architecture.

Branden klayko

Branden klayko

Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden graduated from the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design and l ‘town planning for The Architect’s Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat and the American Institute of Architects.

Branden klayko

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