This pleasing type looms large at the bend in the road along Mullens Street, Balmain. This image comes from my book Type Town: a neighbourhood of glyphs, graffiti, ligatures and legs, which will be launched at the exhibition Typecast on Wednesday 22 August. All welcome!
Here is another photograph from my book Type Town. Pictured is one of two W MacFarlane Furniture buildings. This one, the larger of the two, is in Westbourne Street, Petersham. The second is across the street on the corner of Charles Street. Both display similar signage, complete with thistles on matching curved pediments.
I have been into this building many times, but it is only this week, while gathering a few more images for my upcoming book Type Town, that I took proper notice of the words. I never knew it said ‘public library’! I knew there were words, I know this is a library, but I know it as the State Library—which is what the sign around the corner on Macquarie St says. I also discovered that this section of the street is called Shakespeare Place. One thing I am still unsure about, however, is the architectural term for the part of the building where the text appears. Above is the pediment and cornice, below is the architrave—but the section in between—I think it is the frieze, but I’m not sure. Perhaps I could find the answer inside, on the library shelves.
The book I am currently working on is called Type Town, which, as the title suggests, looks at the typography of my surroundings. When I first started planning it I knew that the signage and street art in my neighbourhood was rich with possibility, but during the last few months of closer scrutiny it has proved to be even more interesting and engaging that I originally anticipated. These beautiful numbers are from a boarded up butcher’s shop window in Rozelle.
I am currently working on a project that is taking me in a slightly different direction to usual. For many years I have worked as a book designer for publishing houses as well as, more recently, for individuals. I am now taking the leap into publishing my own book: a full-colour photographic volume exploring the rich typographic landscape of my neighbourhood. My photos focus on signage and street art I find either beautiful or unusual, rendered through my own personal aesthetic. This stencilled sign hangs on a tree which is, as it announces, condemned (by roadworks). I will be posting more photographs of my typographic neighbourhood in the coming months.
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.
In my working life I prefer to work in the comfort and familiarity of my own office (and have been lucky enough to be able to do so), but during the last few months one of my favourite clients has required my presence in-house for a particular project. I like it more than I thought I would, and while it is kind of a disruption to my usual work routine, there are some definite pluses: like birthday cake and a cheery bit of singing in the middle of the afternoon! And I like the view from the bus. My short commute along Parramatta Road gives me the opportunity to admire the impressive turn-of-the-century facades along that noisy, dirty and faded—but once glorious—thoroughfare. Oh, and inside the bus is interesting too, especially on overcast days when the reflections are intensified.
Not only deep, but Woolwich Dock is long and narrow, a chasm-like drydock overshadowed by towering sandstone walls. Eighty-five thousand cubic metres of sandstone were excavated from the site to construct the drydock, and when it opened in 1901 it was the largest in Australia. Now, there is a raised metal walkway and a keep-between-the-yellow-lines footpath forming part of the Sydney Harbour foreshore walk, so you can walk all around the channel of water, from Goat Paddock to Horse Paddock, without having to get your feet wet.