Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Calligraphy Every Day 7: Roadside

Handmade American signage is full of invention and can-do spirit, like these Roadside letters.  First appreciated by discerning calligrapher Ben Shahn in the 1930s [see example], they have continued to inspire new indigenous letterforms outside the European tradition. 

Roadside letters are made by talented but untrained people who need to get a message across.  They are aware that traditional fonts are made of thick and thin strokes but they are not sure where those thicks and thins actually belong. The letters are characteristically narrow to crowd them all in on one line. 

Left or right hander, keep your eyes open to the gems of lettering around you.  

Crude materials can inspire resourceful calligraphers to come up with fresh ideas.  The letters shown here were written on the stiff cardboard from a pad of paper. 

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