Obviously, ST enjoys hearing about new-signage constructions. It means business for the industry. However, our staff also feels pangs of lamentation when we hear of historic, iconic signage being removed. They say, "Change is the only constant." That might be true, but if often comes with a cost. In this case, some of a city’s historic character — particularly a bastion of culture such as NYC — may be lost as signs that were once beacons of venerable Big Apple fixtures are removed to make way for ostensibly hipper establishments.
Molly Woodward, a NYC designer, is striving to document signage that provided the local color of the city she’s loved since childhood. Her website, www.vernaculartypography.com, chronicles an expansive array of Gotham signage. Some are iconic, such as the former Roxy Deli sign, others are kitschy, some are weatherbeaten, and some were homely from the day of their creation. But, this assemblage created unparalleled character on NYC streets. Development and gentrification, particularly in areas such as Times Square, have removed many such signs. But, a visit to this site will revive the Big Apple that was familiar a generation or more ago.
In our October issue, we’ll feature VernacularTypography.com in greater detail. In the meantime, enjoys this small sample of the site’s expansive gallery.
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