Posts Tagged ‘Hoefler & Frere-Jones’

Cork Signage

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Recently I’ve started to really appreciate the old signage around Cork City and county. Much of the signage is made of stone which is why it has lasted so many generations. Old signage gives us the chance to look into the past and see how generations of Irish before us have read and communicated to one another. The photos below were captured during a walk through Sunday’s Well, Cork.

This ESB (Electricity Supply Board) limestone craved sign was bolted onto an old stone wall. Despite its small size it is a very impressive sign in its simplicity. The font has an industrial feel to it and reminded me of the Port Authority Bus Terminal signage in New York which inspired Hoefler & Frere-Jones to design the Gotham font famous for the Barack Obama Presidential election campaign. It got me thinking how similar the font craved out on the limestone ESB sign was to the font on the Port Authority Bus Terminal sign that inspired the Gotham font itself, (as seen in the Helvetica documentary). The geometric and clear lines of the ESB font show a type of font an engineer would design rather than a designer due to its pure functionality and simplicity. In the past engineers tended to design things to be produced easily which would explain the clean geometric lines of both fonts. Perhaps Obama saw the Gotham font as a typeface the working class could relate to. Judging by his unrivaled popularity and election win, it seems he may of been right.

This rendered sign for billboard and poster printers is really cool. It is partially damaged after someone plastered over it. Thankfully the most of the plaster has fallen off the sign. The font itself is similar enough to the ESB sign above but the “T’s” are slightly less uniform as are the “E’s & L’s”. The large 14 above in the serif font contrasts nicely with the sign. Despite the sign being virtually redundant in use, as the company has long since gone out of business, it is a fantastic visual link to the past.

The Waterworks building on the banks of the Lee is another nice sign. It has an interesting rendered border around the sign, the typography is once again very geometric and clear. The stone work of the of the building is fantastic, especially the borders around the windows and the roof edges.

This final stone sign I noticed is from 1644! Its a very simple font with thin lines and serifs to define the letters. The signage is obviously a religious sign craved into marble stone which was possibly the foundation stone of Sundays Well in Cork, which I think is pretty cool.

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