• PHOTOS,  SIGNS,  TRAVEL

    PHILADELPHIA PREVIEW

    A Philadelphia section has just been added to the main archive (HERE), with photos primarily taken along the Market-Frankford SEPTA line in West Philadelphia. The area is predominantly residential, though the population has dwindled in recent years. There are small commercial clusters around the El stops, but lots are mostly vacant and storefronts boarded up and decaying. Work from public art initiatives like the incredible Mural Arts Program pop up all over the city and brighten blighted areas and transform public space. Here’s a quick preview: Here’s an interesting interactive city map that gives a larger view of the vacancies in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods (link).

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  • EPHEMERA,  OTHER STUFF,  PHOTOS,  SIGNS

    PERFECTION IS STANDARD, MISTAKES COST EXTRA

    If you’re around the Chelsea area in the next few days, stop by the Joshua Liner Gallery to check out the ICY sign shop with work by Sean Barton, Lew Blum, Justin Green, Mike Lee, Dan Murphy, Steve Powers, Alexis Ross, and Matt Wright. In addition to the work along the walls and the tornado of grocery style signs, there are work tables and nooks set up in a carefully curated chaos (the flotsam and jetsam accumulated throughout the course of the show). The most interesting parts are the stray bits, the practice marks, doodles, and guidelines that are normally invisible or go unnoticed in a finished sign. ICY makes…

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  • PHOTOS,  SIGNS,  TRAVEL

    VENICE PREVIEW

    Venice is one of the strangest and most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The city is made up of 118 islands, some connected by small footbridges and others accessible only by boat. On streets along the lagoon, the sun bounces off of the greenish water, casting an eery and beautiful glow on the surrounding buildings. Inland, the streets are labyrinthine and narrow, with shadowy walls along passageways that preserve signs and markings from long ago. The water (along with its sometimes sulfur smell) is pervasive and somewhat startling. The most common letterforms in Venice are the nizioletti, the streets and numbers stenciled directly onto buildings. Street names are stenciled with…

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  • EPHEMERA,  PHOTOS,  SIGNS

    ICE

    Ice boxes are a streetside staple of New York bodegas. The typography and architecture vary slightly from model to model, but the basic formula is the same: snow-capped red shadow type on a battered white cooler, somewhat obscured by hastily rendered tags and stickers. A few seen recently in Brooklyn and Manhattan:

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  • Molly Woodward Vernacular Typography Newark New Jersey Newark Theater Marquee
    PHOTOS,  SIGNS

    RETURN TO NEWARK

    Despite efforts to revitalize Newark, many of the businesses and storefronts in the downtown area remain shuttered and crumbling. Signs advertise businesses that are long gone and the ghost signs that pepper brick walls are fading away, being erased by weather and construction cranes. The signs and buildings that remain (like the beautiful Newark Theater Marquee, United States Savings Bank Building, and the Griffith Piano Company Building) are boarded up, advertised over, or covered by For Rent signs. Here are a few favorites (including a surviving Solari flip board in Newark’s Penn Station) from a recent trip to Newark, taken mostly on and around Broad, Market, and Halsey Streets: More…

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  • Vernacular Typography Berlin UBahn Train Station Sign Lettering
    PHOTOS,  SIGNS,  TRAVEL

    BERLIN PREVIEW

    Here are a few of my favorite shots from a recent trip to Berlin. The city has beautiful neon, fading hand painted signs, wild train station designs, Futura everywhere, Zoidbergs, some fine umlauts, and graffiti–lots and lots of graffiti. p.s. I maybe accidentally deleted the main Vernacular Typography website. It will be back up shortly with a couple thousand new images. Updates will be posted here and here—> Follow @VernacularType

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  • Woodward Vernacular Typography Desert Israel Neon Billboard
    OTHER STUFF,  PHOTOS,  SIGNS

    ISRAEL PREVIEW

    A preview of the new Israel section soon to be added to the main archive. Typography and lettering from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Ein Gedi, Tzfat, Golan Heights, Negev Desert, random kibbutzim, and other places. If you’re interested in supporting Vernacular Typography, consider making a donation to the project through Artspire & New York Foundation for the Arts 501(c)3 HERE. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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  • OTHER STUFF,  PHOTOS,  SIGNS

    GOODBYE CONEY ISLAND

    Summer is gone and so is Coney Island as I remember it. Coney Island was once populated by an incredible landscape of signs and symbols. The few storefronts that retain their unique signage seem more and more endangered with every visit. In 2004, a Creative Time initiative attempted to revive the fading signscape. A group of 25 artists formed The Dreamland Artsits Club and hand painted murals in the area as well as signs for local businesses. Sadly, even many of those have since disappeared or have become isolated fragments. Despite neighborhood opposition, development corporations continue to homogenize and strip Coney Island of its personality, replacing beautiful and inventive lettering…

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