Urban Typography: Treasures in Plain Sight

When was the last time you strolled around and found yourself staring at banners, ads, billboards, pub signs, road signs, graffiti, shop fronts and the like? This could actually be the healthiest form of typography inspiration. You know, endorphins and another bunch of health benefits. However, on top of everything, walking helps you explore the city, filling your head with every typographic element out there, in the streets. It also gives you the temper of a dashing ‘types’ anthropologist, as a walk it’s also a good opportunity to do some research in interaction and context.

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Typographic signs can really change your mood, stop you from entering a restaurant or encourage you to keep reading the words on a banal blue plaque on a wall. No, this is not cheap psychology, it’s just me going through these stages and realizing the incredible power of a type. Most likely you’ve already been there, done that.

If, for whatever reason you can’t enjoy the great outdoors, you can still have access to the amazing world of street typography, because there are more and more online magazines collecting and displaying the ‘streets’ for all those interested. Have you seen NYCtype? It’s a great online project that collects New York City typography. But maybe you prefer Chicago. Or London types in what seems to be a quest to photograph all of the interesting, quirky, old, young, odd, lovely, yummy, gorgeous and beautiful type around the city. Probably a rougher kind of street typography from Eastern Europe is more to your liking. Or you want it all in one massive international cocktail of ‘words on walls’, like those on Pinterest.

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Technology is so advanced these days that you can even take a virtual stroll wherever you want and take screenshots of types in icy Stockholm while you’re melting away in Perth.
So, do not underestimate the power of typography in odd places or in plain sight. It’s free and, literally, all around you.

images courtesy of helenography.net