Friday, May 27, 2011

Narnes & Boble Nookstores

The other night, I stopped into the brick and mortar Barnes & Noble on Union Square, which—unsurprisingly—now devotes a fair amount of real estate to its Nook devices and accessories.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


While we're looking at script signage for: The Chandelier in New Jersey, restaurants in New Orleans, and awnings up the river, I want to note the April 28, 2011 article in The New York Times about cursive writing. Actually, it was really more an article about the loss of cursive. Handwriting often isn't taught in schools past third grade. Kids don't / won't / can't read it. The article noted that the inability to read cursive was like losing a link to the past. One of my nieces in California noted that cursive always seemed like a foreign language to her. Like my niece, some folks don't miss cursive, but one reply to the article eloquently noted the intellectual and cultural importance of being able to decipher cursive.

One cursive that delighted me lately is a combination of lovely and mildly neurotic on the jacket for Enough About Love (clever visual pun with the "O"s, too).

I neglected to note the jacket designer when I shot the photo of and trips to a number of stores and internet sites yield no credit. Help! Is anybody out there a more diligent reporter? In an unusual turn of events, I can find the name of the book's interior design (Simon Sullivan) but not of the jacket design.

* * *

My most recent favorite memoir, Running the Books, contains some wonderful notes about hand-writing. Here are a few scraps of lines about notes hand-written by inmates in Boston's House of Correction in South Bay:

"I unfolded the note. In razor-sharp cursive, in a script known as the "Felon's Claw"—which I suspect belonged to Whiz . . . "

"It seemed brutal to trash a letter than someone had taken the time to handwrite. And there was part of me that thought, Who knows, maybe these letters will be important to someone in the future? I majored in history and literature, and wrote newspaper obituaries. I spent many hours looking at letters and artifacts that some oddball had decided not to throw out. There is no history, no memory, without this."

* * *
"Taking the time to handwrite" is becoming more special, not to mention specialized.

I wonder: is the felon's claw close to the lover's scrawl?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Snape Script

I was taken by the hand-painted script on this now-closed Tarrytown florist, and even more taken by the name "Alma Snape." The owner of the flower shop was Dolores "Dolly" Siebrecht who, along with her husband Irving Siebrecht, owned and operated the shop (now a gallery with a much less striking name). Dolly passed away at the age of 78 in 2010. Why the name Alma Snape? If she was a real person, who was Alma Snape? Who painted the awning? I have homework to do. In the meantime, I salute the moniker that seems like a name from (but preceded) the Harry Potter series as well as the artist who hand-lettered "Alma Snape" in a script that look a bit like Friendly's.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rain, rain, rain

This rain courtesy of North Carolina and its plethora of RFD (rural free delivery) mailboxes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Louisiana-ana

Some more New Orleans . . . this handlettering was painted directly on the glass panes of the saloon door (well, to be precise it was actually painted on the inside of the door backwards).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Orleans: Call & Response (sort of)

Here are a few of my faves, from a trip to NOLA a few years back. Lola's is kind of a rustic variation on Sylvain.

The photo below isn't for a restaurant; it touts a different sort of table top service. Shame on me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Restaurant Signage: New Orleans Edition

I have a lot of shots of beautiful restaurant signage from New Orleans. So without further ado, here are Felix's Sea Foods, Galatoires, and Sylvain:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Chandelier

In Belleville, NJ there still exists a classic Italian catering hall called The Chandelier (notice the great scrip logo/signage of the hall itself, and also note the very au courant slab serif in the website).

Here is one of their actual chandeliers, taken by a pint-sized photographer who managed to grab the camera for a moment:

The hall also features a pretty awesome restroom sign, a specialty of this blog, I think.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Dewar Decimal System

No, I'm not drunk. I mean to combine Dewar and Dewey, beverage and books.

At the eBook discussion at Pratt (you, Suzanne, are the reason I went; you e-mailed me the e-flyer), Bob Stein noted that the state of U.S. libraries is terrible and that we're a mess compared to Australia. Things are dire, but, based on an incredibly narrow personal survey of libraries in New York, New York; Tarrytown, New York; Stamford, Connecticut; and Brunswick, Maine, I'm seeing that libraries are becoming community centers. On a recent Sunday, I went to Stamford to hear a classmate give a jazz concert at the public library. Younger patrons filled carrels holding computes, while the elderly enjoyed the snacks and concert (OK, and a nap) in the exhibition area.

A college classmate who used to work in restaurants and who's now a librarian commented that libraries and bars aren't all that different.

My current reading crush, the author of Running the Books, was for a time a prison librarian and also functioned as a listener, not to mention as a help to inmates who were studying the law (the word "bar" in the legal sense, means mostly the legal profession, according to the Phrase Finder discussion forum).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Personality & More Personality

While we're talking personality and smarts, I include Emigré on my list of type mavens who consistently astound. When I described Mr Eaves to you the other night, you asked if Zuzana Licko designed it. Yes! Yes! Yes! Mr Eaves Sans and Modern are the companion to Mrs Eaves. Mr Eaves had me at the cap "R," but when I saw the cap "Q," I was totally smitten. So far, the client and editor agree with me; they love the look of Mr Eaves Sans, which works as display and as hardworking info. (He's a dandy and a working man!) Note Emigré's witty copy listing pairs.

Type designers are true Renaissance misters and missuses. In real life, Mrs Eaves was Baskerville's companion. In type life, is Mr Eaves Mrs Eaves's masculine self?

Speaking of Renaissance men, Paul Shaw knows every flare and curve of pretty much every typeset and calligraphed face. For a strong sense of Mrs Eaves and other digital type designs, read his history compiled as a look back as prequel to a look ahead, written for AIGA's Voice.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sans avec personality?

Weren't we just discussing finding sans serif typefaces with personality? And from our mouths to God's ear, an email from Hoefler & Frere-Jones appeared in my mailbox with their Ideal Sans, just the thing with a bit of personality!

And as always, the gentlemen over at H&FJ show off their vocabulary . . .

Flared stems:

Canted gestures (with upward thrust!):

*If nothing else, these descriptions would make excellent album titles for some early '70's prog-rock band.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Semi bolds

Ok, they're not semis; I'm trying to be clever. Anyhoo, the bold art on these trucks hit me like a mack, whether they were hand-lettered art, sprayed, interstate (or galaxy) commerical, or almost-graphic (a là Divide Your