I is for Italia


Italia was designed by Colin Brignall for Letraset in 1977. Italia is a re-drawing of ATF’s Jenson, which in turn was based on William Morris’s Golden Type and Joseph W Phinney’s Jenson Oldstyle. Italia is a slab serif typeface. Brignall has designed type for Letraset since 1964 and his body of work comprises more than 100 fonts, including Aachen, Edwardian, Type Embellishments, Harlow, Tango, Romic and Dynamo Shadow. In 2000 he was honoured with the TDC Medal from the Type Directors Club.

Ed Benguiat


Ed Benguiat is prolific. He has designed more than 600 typefaces—Benguiat, Benguiat Gothic, Bookman, Tiffany, Edwardian Script, Souvenir and Bauhaus are just a handful—and played a significant role in the establishment of ITC. Not to mention his hand in a multitude of logotypes—The New York Times, Ford, Readers Digest, AT&T, Estee Lauder, Esquire and countless more. In 1989 he was awarded the TDC Medal, the award from the Type Directors Club presented to those ‘who have made major contributions to the field of typography … and who by their work and talent have shown the value of a heightened awareness of typography in communication’. Before becoming a type designer he played drums in big bands with Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, and despite his stellar design career, he sees himself first and foremost as a jazz percussionist. On the connection between music and design, he has been quoted as saying: ‘Music is nothing more than placing sounds in their proper order so they are pleasing to the ear. What’s a layout? Placing things in their proper order so they are pleasing to the eye.’

H is for Helvetica Neue


Helvetica Neue is the version of Helvetica that was modified and digitised for Linotype by D Stempel AG in 1983. The original Helvetica was added to over the years but not in any coordinated manner—hence, the reworking involved structurally unifying heights and widths. It also has heavier punctuation marks and increased spacing in the numbers compared to the original design. The Helvetica Neue family consists of 51 weights, which are named using a numerical system borrowed from Univers. The weights range from 25 Ultra Light to 107 Extra Black Condensed, with 55 Roman being the central point. Apple uses Helvetica Neue as the system font for OSX Yosemite.

Wo Fat


I was overjoyed to come across this sign! Wo Fat is the bad guy in Hawaii Five-O! Really, this was too much of a coincidence, so I had to look it up, and sure enough, I discovered that the producer of the original Hawaii Five-O series did in fact take the name from this Chinatown restaurant. Even better, it seems that the bad guy drug lord in Homicide: Life on the Street—another of my favourite TV shows—was based on Hawaii Five-O’s Wo Fat. Wo Fat, the restaurant, opened in 1882, and was Hawaii’s oldest restaurant when it closed 123 years later in 2005. The Wo Fat building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Considering the characters it engendered, it is ironic that the name means ‘peace, prosperity and harmony’.

G is for Gill Kayo


Gill Kayo is often referred to as Gill Sans Ultra Bold, despite the fact that many letters are not consistent with the structure of any other of the Gill Sans weights. The name comes from ‘knockout’, implying its solidity, and its release by Eric Gill and Monotype in 1936 was met with much controversy. Gill Kayo is categorised as a sans serif typeface, but even Gill himself considered it a novelty.



To my eye, this is an interesting collection of type and textures. I especially like the horizontal red slats butting up against the concrete pillar with its worn and weathered paint. Bar 35 is reputedly home to ‘incredible gourmet fusion pizzas’ (I haven’t tried them) and a choice of 200 beers from twenty countries. Perhaps that’s why there is a sign for taxis right next door.

F is for Flight


Flight was designed for Letraset in 1995 by self-taught British type designer Timothy Donaldson. It is a calligraphic font that was originally rendered in pencil using a quick sketching technique, after which the stem junctions were thickened. Donaldson also designed John Handy, Orange, Green, Pink, Trackpad and Neo Neo—all of which exhibit his characteristic calligraphic style.

Sand wich


How our perception of a word can change by such a small adjustment to the way it usually looks! Turning Sandwich into Sand Wich totally confused me! OK, so I can read it and understand it, but it’s not enirely satisfactory. It’s quite possible that the food truck, on which this banner is so gloriously gaffer taped, has made a pun rather than a typo—the truck was parked at a beach after all—but I’m not so sure.