Attaboy.ca

Over There (in the UK)

May 31, 2002 at 12 PM

London Letters

If you’re a font nerd, or as my friend Joyce once called me, a font slut, you’ll enjoy Public Lettering: A walk in central London. Somewhat a virtual tour, the site presents photos of public landmarks in London with details, details, details and comprehensive supporting text.

If you have Shockwave installed, then you can zoom, pan and rotate your away around 3D rendered models of the real life locations. Ooh la la. Très cool. The whole site smacks of dedication and hard work. Or as Jack Schulze, one of the designers says on his weblog, “Go and see this website…. It’s taken me bloody ages.”

There is a lot of typography on the web. But not so much lettering. So what makes lettering different from plain old typography? Here’s what Phil Baines and Catherine Dixon, the writers of the site, have to say:

Lettering — as understood by calligraphers or stone carvers — is not part of most undergraduate graphic design or typography programmes. This and the ability of computers and contemporary production methods to generate type at any size on virtually any substrate tends to blind us to the subtle but important differences between lettering and type and to the needs of permanent or semi–permanent display in an environmental context as distinct from the needs of print on paper or screen. … If type is regarded as an industrial product capable of widespread use, lettering can be regarded as its parent discipline. It encompasses all the various hand techniques used to render the alphabetic symbols mankind has used for thousands of years to identify, to instruct and to present or promote.

Comments

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Previously: To Each His Tango

Subsequently: RTFM

May 2002
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