House Sign Typography

house sign amsterdam

I always get overexcited by nice type on house signs. Whenever I go to Europe I’m impressed by the layouts of their flat numbers and suchlike. They always look so, well, European, and sophisticated.

So when I was walking home in Brighton and I saw this (almost) nicely done house number. Even though it’s far from the standards you’d expect to see in Amsterdam or Zurich it is mounted nicely on perspex and someone had at least considered the design.

So I did a double take. Then I did a triple take. And it all fell apart in front of my eyes…

house sign


8 thoughts on “House Sign Typography”

  1. Bah! It’s horrible anyway. The Perspex mount is cheap and nasty (and dirty around the bolts), it’s a really horrible typeface (not sure what, but it’s not Helvetica, nor Grotesque 215 nor even Arial). In any case that figure 9 is really ungainly and that’s before you even get to the apostrophe. I’m not even a typography nerd (hence I don’t know the font – I’m sure someone around here does).

    It’s a good point though (not the apostrophe, the house signs) – it’s the aggregate effect of all those small details that makes places in Northern Europe and Scandinavia so pleasant. It’s something that the UK lost long ago, sadly. It sounds trivial, but even the fact that ticket collectors just lamely swirl a cross on your ticket with a biro or, if they’re really special, stamp it with a cheap Trodat Printy makes the whole experience feel like an extension of Abigail’s Party. The last time I took the insanely over-priced Stansted Express the ‘refreshments trolly’ lady had all her change in an old Pringle’s canister wrapped up in gaffer tape. Its’ not surprising that there’s little pride in the job and thus bored, disaffected service, etc., etc.

    Okay, I’m ranting now. Sorry.

  2. It’s horrible, horrible..

    The font is almost as overused as Times New Roman and Comic Sans and guess why? It’s that other asshole Microsoft font, Verdana. It’s designed for screens so people who use this font for other than screen presentation should be shot.

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