Vernacular Typography

I just backed this project on Kickstarter and think you should too. is a source of endless inspiration and does valuable work in documenting and preserving great examples of regional typography & signage.

The project (and overall cause) reminded me of this story Aaron Draplin tells about an old sign he bought on Ebay and its horrific replacement.

Aaron’s right. Nothing depresses me more than seeing shoddy replacements for classic American signage. I recently heard we could have lost the neon signs at The Bluebonnet Cafe (site redesign coming soon) due to a proposed city ordinance in my hometown.

Thankfully, the city council seems able to recognize the historic nature of the signage and has taken a sensible, negotiable position on things. I grew up visiting the Blue Bonnet for pie happy hour, and that sign is part of what makes summers on Lake LBJ so memorable. Heck, I’d argue it’s the coolest thing in the entire city.

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  • Keenan Cummings

    There is little I hate more than the billboards that line most of the US’s highways. It’s a utopian dream of mine to tear them all down.

    Draplin’s story was rightly depressing. But it’s somewhat short sighted to speak of the loss of “little thing with the number and the great type” and all of these other artifacts of american typographic history without acknowledging that these things came along and replaced something that came before, something arguably more authentic, more crafted, more vernacular.

    The designed landscape of our culture is getting better all the time. Nostalgia biases our judgement, and as much I love the vintage, the vernacular, the heritage, and authentic, I can’t agree that America or anyone is f*#&‘ed graphically.

    “It’s getting better all the time.”

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