I’m usually pretty lucky with parking, but last week I attempted to park in the Broadway carpark at lunchtime, when the novelty of the newly opened food court has obviously not worn off. It’s never the easiest time, but this was the first occasion when I drove round and round, all the way to the top, then round and round, all the way to the exit, without once seeing a vacant spot. Even street parking proved difficult so I had to park some distance away from my destination. The upside, apart from some enforced exercise, was finding a spot next to this exuberant lettering.
I realise this is not the full story, however when I saw this segment of writing I wasn’t particularly interested in finding out what the rest of it said. It was enough to occupy my time musing about why arts had a curfew, what it must have done that would result in not being allowed after 10pm. I am reminded of another cut off word, one that I see regularly when traversing the Petersham intersection. From the car, waiting for the lights to change, you can see a sign that shouts READ—which we should all be encouraged to do more of!—and it’s only when the lights turn green and you drive on that a hidden B is revealed.
There’s a building in my neighbourhood, an old corner store, that has some particularly nice ghost signage above the front door, but today I was walking by rather than driving and was rewarded with this side view. It’s more subtle, more complex, more painterly and printmakerly than the more obvious front door sign. It’s hard to make out all the words here, but there’s a ‘choo’, which, in conjunction with the ‘first grade’ below it, most likely makes it a painted advertisement for Lan-choo tea.
I walked along a different street this morning, and it was a reminder that we don’t have to change much in our daily routine to get an altered perspective. I found plenty of interest in the back lanes my walk incorporated, including this signage, left to take on some character in a way that the front door sign would not be. I wonder if something happened to the O, or if it was just the luck of the draw that on the day the Os were made, the quality of materials was slightly different, or if some other small factor contributed to its future faster deterioration. The typeface looks like a version of Clarendon, which makes me like it even more.
Zennor was designed by Phill Grimshaw in 1995. Grimshaw studied at Bolton College of Art before earning a place at the London Royal College of Art in the early 1970s. He subsequently specialised in type design, returning to Lancashire where he established a commercial lettering studio. Grimshaw was prolific: he created dozens of dynamic, calligraphic-inspired typefaces, including Arriba, Braganza, Kendo, Scriptease, Tempus Sans, Pristina and Grimshaw Hand. In turn, his calligraphic work was inspired by typography, and his experimental crossover technique earned him a formidable reputation. His 1992 typeface, Hazel, became the last type design to be produced by Letraset as a dry transfer.