Less than a week after the spring equinox and we are getting a taste of summer: it’s 32 degrees today, 10 degrees hotter than Sydney’s September average. No doubt it will make the news tonight, in the way that weather inevitably does—the first freaky hot day, the crazy rain, the bush as dry as a tinderbox. There might be no smoking and no standing, but on a day like today it’s good to know that beer is allowed!
It’s not so much the quote, but the juxtaposition of textures and the harmony of colour and tone. I like how the tears in the paper of the poster look like intentionally designed black triangles, and how the light through the dirty pane of glass illuminates the shapes inside. The whole reminds me of one of those fabulous Rauschenberg ‘combines’, the ones where he silkscreens on to sheer fabric which is floated in front of the collage. The typeface looks like a version of Helvetica Heavy Condensed with a little judicious kerning and condensing to improve the fall of the lines.
This building, in Police Lane, Geelong, is no longer an operational police station, but the chiselled words remain. The area is more of an arts precinct now: look one way and there is the art gallery, look the other way and there is a large mural on the wall of the performing arts centre and a recording studio aptly named ‘Lock Up’. The lettering is surprisingly refined: I particularly like delicacy of the L and E.
I’m reading again. There are phases in a busy life when there is little time for the luxury of reading fiction, but I have made time lately to fit in a chapter or two each evening. I don’t know what it says about my choice of writer, but I have now come across several novels (in a relatively short space of time) that include a reference to Tim Tams. There are common features: the writers are American, the characters in question have an Australian friend who brings them a packet of Tim Tams (written as fiction but I suspect drawn from truth), recipients of the Tim Tams are likeable (no Tim Tams for the bad guys), and there is some comment worked into the dialogue about how irresistible they are. And who could argue with that! I like my Tim Tams from the fridge, and how these two packets have lasted unopened for as long as they have is a miracle. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tim Tam logo is one of the most recognised in Australia.
There are some reassuring certainties in life, one of them being that every small Australian town has a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker. In modern times the candlestick maker might come in another guise, but there is always something to fit the bill. Admittedly, I haven’t been to every small Australian town, but I have most assuredly observed this rub-a-dub-dub trio theme. This baker exuded that irresistible smell of freshly baked bread, made an excellent cup of coffee, and displayed a decent bit of lettering to boot.
A food theme seems to have emerged over the last week or so, and here’s another one to add to the mix. This French cheese tasted amazing, and before we even cut into it, there was a collective oooh aaah of admiration from the half a dozen diners at the table. No one batted an eyelid at the idea that someone wanted to photograph it, but I think it was only me that saw an embossed Gill Sans M.
The first thing I noticed about this texta-on-cardboard writing was not its grammar, or even its message, but how neat the writing was. There tends to be two types of greengrocer writing in my neck of the woods: the stylised signwriting style; and the messy uneven scrawl of the handwritten notice, where the length of the words have not been considered when pen is first put to paper, so the first letters are large and confident and as it becomes clear that the paper is going to run out before the message is fully written, it becomes increasingly squished to fit. This one stands out for its all-round penmanship—in two languages, no less!—as well as its message.
I admit it: I’m swayed by packaging. As much as I like to think I am capable of independent thought when it comes to food and drink purchases, I like to see my kitchen stocked with items that I prefer the look of. Fortunately, this often coincides with quality produce: for example, the Italian tinned tomatoes I like have the best label, and the smoked paprika comes in a tin you would buy for its own sake. When it comes to wine, the choice can get tough. While I am no expert, I have grape preferences that at least narrow the field, and when it came to this trio of Spanish blends the labels were too good to pass up.
I wouldn’t mind some Sunshine biscuits, especially because they Are Better! I am not particularly nostalgic, nor do believe that old typography design is better than new typography design, but there is no doubt that advertising like this has a quality that current advertising (for me, at least) lacks. I wonder if, in years to come, we will look back at advertising in the convenience store windows of today in the same favourable light that we view old signage like this. Seems improbable, but if I’m still around in another fifty years or so, I’ll let you know.
Here is an excellent example of using an available setting to advantage! The stepped side of this building could have been made-to-measure for this sewing machine shop and haberdashery: either that or the sewing machine brands custom-named to fit so conveniently. I like the way this block of type has been designed to work in the space, and although it is fading and far from recently painted, it is still striking and legible.