Glebe Point Road used to be a great street to wander down, full of quirky and interesting shops and a passing parade of quirky and interesting people. It’s a less inspiring stretch now because the diversity has gone — about the only establishment left selling anything other than food is the bookshop. However the architecture remains, including this facade with its elaborate intertwined letters. At first I was impatient with its convolutedness, but then rather pleased that I could decipher the letters to so aptly spell FUSS.
It’s still cold. And wet. And miserable. And it’s all because of the super moon, with a trough off the coast and a low pressure system. A super moon is when the moon comes closer to Earth than usual—a hop, step and a jump at only 356,991 kilometres away to be precise—at the same time it is full. So the tides are high too, and my locality received more than half its average June rainfall in a single day. Inside the heater is on, and outside the washing is hanging wet and forlorn on the line, waiting for a sunny day.
Winter in Sydney is mild compared to a northern hemisphere winter: nevertheless there is an ever-present permeating dampness, and today it really is cold. And raining. And miserable. Which naturally leads me to thinking about weather symbols like these. Ale Signs was designed in 1994 by Alessio Leonardi, an Italian-born type and graphic designer based in Germany. Leonardi has designed more than 50 typefaces, many of them lively and hand-drawn, and has published several books, including the comic book (co-written by Jan Middendorp) Mr Typo and the lost letters.
I can’t remember if the first time I went to the Bega Cheese factory was on a school excursion or a family road trip, but either way, I seem to have always known, along with everyone else in NSW, about Bega cheese. Once, every drive down the far south coast leg of the Princes Highway involved a visit to the museum and cheese shop, so naturally my recent stay in Cobargo, just up the road, necessitated just such a trip down memory lane. This window, with its painted figures, overlooks the carpark, and although I have never noticed it before it has probably been there forever.
From what I can discover, the Foord of Foord’s Buildings was Charles John Foord, an alderman of Canterbury council in the early 1900s. He was obviously of some importance in the area because there is also a Foord Avenue and a Foord Street Footbridge over the Cooks River. The building is pretty shabby these days, but the bas-relief lettering of the nameplate still stands out bold and clear. I particularly like the apostrophe, as well as the surrounding pattern of painted brickwork and faded writing.
I was so focussed on the S in post and the O in office, and so horrified at the mess of signs, banners and posters covering the facade, with their excessive number of ill-chosen and badly used typefaces — I counted at least a dozen — that I initially failed to notice this fine juxtaposition of poles. I couldn’t bring myself to show the mess below the sandstone-carved lintel, and I am no fan of this style of screenprinted metal sign, but I do like the placement of the wonky telegraph pole in front of it. I also like the use of Eurostile, a geometric sans serif typeface, designed by Aldo Novarese in 1962 for the Nebiolo foundry in Turin.
This has the appearance of Helvetica Rounded Condensed, but the rounded quality of the stroke terminators is no doubt the result of the engraving tool rather than a conscious and deliberate choice of typeface variant. Helvetica, the most widely used sans serif typeface, was developed in 1957 by Max Miedinger for Edouard Hoffman at the Haas Type Foundry in Switzerland. The Helvetica family contains a large and varied range of weights, and versions also exist for alphabets and scripts other than English. Helvetica is everywhere, from the New York subway to the space shuttle to this small and humble metal footpath plate, scuffed and worn (in a very aesthetically pleasing manner, might I add) by years of foot traffic.
From a distance I was not particularly taken with this lettering, perhaps because it is a vertical word, which never seems to read right – a bit like those awful logos that use the same initial cap for both words as an attempt at a design feature but invariably end up ugly and illegible instead. However, the ‘T’ was at eye level, where closer inspection and a different view was unavoidable. What I like is that there has obviously been an attempt to make it stand out from the crowd and that care has been taken in the attention to detail. The overkill of keyline, shadow and outline miraculously works to convey pride of ownership and a bold and welcoming jauntiness.
I didn’t partake of these delicacies at the time because it was a sunny and unseasonably mild day, and the warm red, round-cornered lettering was not enough to tempt me. This cold morning, however, as I sit here with the heater on and half a mind to get back under the warm blankets, it’s another matter. I wish that donut van was here now, because I would most certainly be lured by the jammy colour and evocative letter forms.
It’s Saturday, customarily the day to sit around all morning with coffee and the paper. These days The Paper isn’t what it used to be — and it just isn’t the same on the iPad — but at least my local paper, The Sydney Morning Herald, is still being printed. The Melbourne Herald was a broadsheet newspaper published from 1840 to 1990. It began as the Port Phillip Herald and within eighteen months had the largest circulation of all the Melbourne papers. In 1849 it changed its name to The Melbourne Morning Herald and General Daily Advertiser. Quite a mouthful, when all you really need is one bold sans serif word to get the message across! The paper changed its name several times until it finally became The Herald on 8 September 1855 until its demise 135 years later.