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BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Last week, I made an appointment at the Brooklyn Historical Society to look through their manuscript collection and peruse the incredible typography and lettering.

The building itself is pretty amazing (with some of the nicest doorknobs I’ve ever seen). It was built in 1881, designed by architect George B. Post specifically for the Long Island Historical Society (as the Society was then known). Books and magazines from the last several hundred years line the stacks of the library, and nearly all of them contain beautiful letterforms.

I looked through boxes and boxes of club ephemera, certificates, and maps from the 19th and 20th centuries. Here are a few good ones:

The Historical Society library is open to the public, but if you want to look at the archives and manuscript collections, you’ll need an appointment.

(Though it creates a nice ambience for a library, the lighting is not ideal for photographing documents, so please excuse the not-so-great photos.)

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
brooklynhistory.org


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FLORENCE

A few of my favorite shots from an afternoon walking around Florence.

Several hundred more from Venice, Florence, and Rome to be added to the main Vernacular Typography site soon.

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TIPOGRAFIA ARNO

While wandering around in Florence (trying to avoid the Road World Championship) I walked by a printing studio on Via Guelfa. Raul, the printer inside, beckoned me in and showed me around as he set my name on a composing stick. We talked about Lou Reed and then I was on my way.


Tipografia Arno
Via Guelfa 38R
Firenze
50129
Italia

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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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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 photos from Newark here and here.

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RANDOM BOOK COVERS

Some titles you might find on the bookshelves of a former English teacher and computer engineer in upstate New York:

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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—>

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VINTAGE BASEBALL TEES

This cache of vintage tees was recently rediscovered at the bottom of a drawer upstate. In the 80s, my uncle (an incredible sports photographer and writer who has photographed for the USTA and Nike) frequented a custom shirt kiosk at the mall. These are some of the gems he made (note the fuzzy Cooper Black type and pre-photoshop hand cutting and pasting of images):

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PARANOID IN DUMBO

These 5 signs were found within a 4 block radius in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. DUMBO is watching you.

Vernacular Typography No Cameras Signage

Vernacular Typography Closed Circuit Monitoring Signage

Vernacular Typography 24 Hour Video Surveillance Signage

Vernacular Typography Security Camera In Use Signage

Vernacular Typography You Are Being Watched 24 Hours

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VERNACULAR TYPOGRAPHY IN JAPAN

Vernacular Typography tees, stationery (and unsanctioned totes) are now available at Abahouse in Japan.

Check out their posts with more pictures here and here.

Retailers interested in carrying the tees and stationery line can contact hello (at) vernaculartypography (dot) com for more information or to request a lookbook.

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