Spotlight on Blackpool hotels for their seaside typography


And now, graphic designer Sarah Horn aims to showcase another city treasure: her typography.

We pass examples of this work of art – the way letters and text are organized – every day when we walk past street signs, store banners and business names.

Sarah’s love of seaside typography led her to publish a photo book about the city’s bed and breakfasts titled En-Suites Available, published with Occasional Papers.

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Graphic designer Sarah Horn aims to showcase the city’s typography. One of his photographs of Palm Springs Apartments in Blackpool

The book – a collection of photographs she took while on campus at Blackpool University for a typography project – has become an archive of coastal architecture and vernacular typography.

The 29-year-old, who lives near Stanley Park, said: “I’ve always had an interest in typography. I’m most drawn to these extravagant seaside styles because they remind me so much of my home.

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“This particular selection of photographs was first taken as research for a project I was working on at university, which challenged students to research a specific typographic theme.

Designer Sarah Horn photographed examples of seaside typography in Blackpool

“I chose bed and breakfasts because there are hundreds of them in Blackpool and because of my lifelong fascination with the typefaces and colors of vernacular seaside signage.

“Since then I have photographed lots of road signs all over the place, but nothing beats the signs in Blackpool.

“They are very special in this part of the country.

“People’s renewed interest in local tourism since Covid-19 and a post-Brexit nostalgia made the project suddenly very relevant.”

Blackpool graphic designer Sarah Horn, who has published a photo book about bed and breakfasts in the town called En-Suites Available

To celebrate the launch of her book, Sarah and Justin Burns, lecturer and researcher in British seaside typography, will host a Blackpool Type Walk on Saturday 14 May.

Beginning at the Comedy Carpet, the tour leads from the boardwalk to side streets and downtown to showcase a selection of favorite signs from Sarah’s book, as well as insights and historical references from Justin.

Sarah, who is a graphic designer at Studio.Build, said: “Bed and breakfasts are definitely my favourite! They are so lively, they grab attention and give the viewer an instant nostalgic feeling.

She added, “I’m always on the lookout for bold color palettes, intricate letterforms and fonts that stand out.

“I like bed and breakfasts that also have those little extras, those ‘No Vacancy’ or ‘En-Suites Available’ signs.

“I also love the beautiful brick typography around the Tower Building. Not immediately noticeable, but so stunning when you spot it.

“And of course, our fantastic Comedy Carpet, where we start our tour!”

Typography is the art of arranging letters and text in such a way as to make the copy readable, clear and attractive to the reader.

It aims to give a certain message to the reader through its use of font style, appearance, and structure.

Examples of typography on the front of accommodation in Blackpool that caught Sarah’s eye include The Lynton Hotel and Palm Springs Apartments, both located on Hornby Road in Blackpool.

She also photographed the Arncliffe Hotel on Adelaide Street, the Bradley Hotel on Albert Road and The Address on Reads Avenue, Blackpool, which feature in her book.

Sarah will be in good company on the Blackpool Type Walk as Justin is Head of Art and Design at Leeds School of Arts at Leeds Beckett University.

His research explores how lettering, typography and the discipline of graphic design contribute to the development and experience of British seaside resorts.

The Blackpool Type Walk will take place from 10.30am to noon on May 14.

A spokesperson for Occasional Papers editors said: “When Sarah Horn began photographing hotel facades in Blackpool she had no idea her collection would result in a unique archive of coastal architecture, vernacular typography and unconscious poetry.

“Never have mundane dreams of escape, recreation and pastime seemed so captivating and poignant.

“This book is an essential resource for tourism sociologists, typography collectors, and those who, when everyone is looking at the sunset, turn away.”

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