Local Flavor Typography

010In strolling through my town, I found this typeface not just on the sign for “Bill’s Music,” but also on three other storefronts. For “Music City Maryland,” I feel that this typography is appropriate. Catonsville is a small town, but not a cute, quaint one; rather, the growing downtown has a working class feel. This typeface is simple and straightforward, and the curves add fun; free of flair and intricacies, but full of a lively spirit, this typeface embodies the local flavor of this town.



011Graffiti is a style of typography that may not be ignored during a thorough research project of typography. Though it is usually not appreciated by businesses, it is scattered across the buildings in both urban and suburban regions. This style of typography carries interesting undertones; the artistic curves are usually illegible, making the forms more important than the message. Perhaps, if graffiti was seen as an art form, rather than vandalism, it could be used for business promotion rather than harm.

Suburban Typography

005 I feel that this picture embodies the typography of suburban America. Shopping centers thrive in cities and towns surrounding metropolitan areas; though everyone would love to be able to walk to a local grocery store, shopping centers like these are often the main source of everyday goods and services for the working and middle classes of the suburbs. The typography, I noticed, does not have to be fancy or establish a brand; it simply needs to deliver the store names. Besides the “Giant” logo on the top of the sign, each title on the shopping center sign is written in a plain, straightforward sans serif typeface.

Neon Typography

016Another great example of typography from the local liquor store – neon typography. Neon typography, I noticed, is used sparingly in most storefronts – except liquor stores. The reasons are obvious. First, these signs simply do not have a professional, corporate look; the viewer not only sees the neon type, but also the unlit parts that provide structure to the typographic forms and graphics. In addition, liquor stores receive most of their business in the night hours; neon typography is perfect for these conditions, as the colors and lights are easy to see. Most businesses, however, do not operate under these conditions. It is clear that neon typography is an important design choice for some businesses, but definitely does not fit into the aesthetics or needs of most stores.


Distressed Typography

015The local liquor store window is a montage of different typefaces.

Displayed in this image is the distressed type of “Magic Hat.” In my opinion, this poster was not a very successful use of this typographic style. Perhaps if the poster was smaller in scale, the distressed areas would not be so bulky and unnatural. This is something that any designer must keep in mind when creating a work for print–the scale at which the design will be produced.

Childlike Typography

moosemunch With my next wave of research, I revisit items in my home and town.

One of the first typographical items that stands out to me in my kitchen is the design on Harry and David’s “Moose Munch” container. The type is unlike many large brands; it features childlike writing to identify the product. Not only is “Moose Munch” written with the charming print of a child, but it is also styled to look as though it was written with a crayon. This choice of typeface stamps the product with a fun, familiar feeling–completely appropriate for a beloved snack food.

As shown by this product, friendly, informal typefaces can be utilized successfully to distinguish a brand.



asusLooking through my closet, I find an ASUS monitor box, and I snap a picture of the logo. I immediately recognize that what I truly love is logotype.

There is something so special about a typeface that defines a company, especially if it is designed specifically for that business. This type does not use the stroke contrast that I so dearly love, but with sliced letters, it creates a swift feeling of purpose. It completely embodies the concept of the company. Like hand-painted typography, it is unusual and singular in purpose. However, for this singular purpose, it may be reproduced endlessly. It contains the beauty of both worlds.


Industrial Typography

CAMIndustrial typographcockeysy: so simple, so graphic, so solid. For the sake of being a well-rounded researcher, I also document the typography of these industrial businesses. The CAM Construction sign may be found on Maiden Choice Lane in Catonsville, and the typography of Cockey’s Enterprises, Inc. is on the trash container in my yard.

Cockey’s typeface is clearly used for readability and identification, not branding or beauty. The CAM typography has more noticeable qualities, although it is still very basic and straightforward.

I understand the importance of using simple, direct, and highly readable typefaces; however, they are not visually stimulating to me. It is clear that I am more interested in creating a more recognizable typeface, with provocative contrasts and greater differentiation between strokes.


Hand-Painted Typography

pcBeing a painter, I naturally wanpc2t to explore hand-painted typography. This paint-your-own-pottery studio in Catonsville, named The Pottery Cove, chose a hand-painted typography display for its storefront.

While ruminating on these images, I am drawn to the beauty of its imperfection. This typeface can never be reproduced in its original form, and, in this age of computers, that is such a strange thought.

I would be happy to design hand-painted typefaces. However, I am also drawn to the strictness and uniformity of designing a reproducible typeface. A conflict of feelings.


Business/Banking Typography

PNCThis bank statement is an example of a field that uses both serif and sans serif typefaces.

Businesses and banks, I have noticed, tend to utilize simple, graphic, modern typefaces for their logos. Sans serif type allows for quick reading, and the shapes are easier to commit to memory. Longer amounts of information, however, are presented in a classic serif form. Look at any bills, any government forms, etc.; the majority of the type is linked to timeless Old Style text.

This is an interesting point that I have to keep in mind while designing a typeface. For what purpose will my typography be used?