A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

Tag: signage

TYPE-RIGHTER // waverley cemetery

 

Waverley Cemetery sits above the cliffs at Bronte, giving the heritage-listed site one of the best locations in Sydney. Opened in 1877, it is occupied by many significant Australians such as poet Henry Lawson. His grave wasn’t easy to find, but an old hand painted metal sign lead the way, which was as simple and unassuming as his grave.

There are many grand, immaculate Victorian and Edwardian monuments adorned with beautiful inscriptions, crests and insignias. Walking around and looking at the creativity and craftsmanship on display is a lesson in typography from another time. It is interesting to see which fonts and symbols have been used to represent the person, marking their life and their final resting place.

TYPE-RIGHTER // state library

Visiting the State Library of New South Wales is always an enjoyable experience and the Mitchell Vestibule quote engraved in the sandstone foyer is a perfect example of classic type that resonates. It hints at the treasures nestled inside the oldest library in Australia that was established in 1826. There is an extensive range of heritage-listed special collections and references, plus my love for reading makes the library a nostalgic haven. Beautiful vintage books are on display with stunning cover designs and elaborate illustrations, providing much inspiration for artists, designers and typographers.

There are multiple exhibitions at any given time on interesting subjects and they are open to the public for free. Sydney Elders by Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones, tells the stories of four Aboriginal elders (Uncle Chicka, Aunty Esme, Aunty Sandra, Uncle Dennis) with personal accounts of growing up in Sydney, their ancestors, as well as their contribution and legacy in our city. Another exhibit that was impressive and well curated was Dead Central. Taking you back to 19th century Sydney when there was a vast cemetery that opened in 1820, exactly where Central Station now stands. I never knew that a major burial ground with over 30,000 bodies was cleared in 1901 to make way for the station, and I don’t think many other Sydneysiders know this about the historic site. To begin with there is the clever use of type printed on black tape in two lines like a train track running along the hallway leading to the entrance. All the signage, backdrops, photography and displays are beautifully designed and complement the audio recordings and video reels perfectly.

TYPE-RIGHTER // vintage branding

Discovering and documenting historic signage has become a hobby of mine. I’m always on the lookout for faded signwriting, vintage advertising and retro posters. With so much redevelopment in Sydney I am finding that many of these treasures from our past are being lost. Even looking back at my Instagram, it’s shocking to see how many of the images I’ve posted don’t exist anymore. These signs were taken on Devonshire Street which is being overhauled thanks to the new light rail route, so I’m just hoping they won’t disappear too. In particular, my love for classic Australian brands with a long heritage are my favourite finds. Even though Tooth’s brewery no longer goes by that name, some old signs are still on display which I’ve discussed before in a previous post about pub art. Bushells is instantly recognisable as it’s a national icon that has been around since 1883. Working in design, I enjoy seeing how these brands have evolved and how these examples remind us of our childhood and the culture of our country.

STREETSCAPES // give me a sign

It’s obvious from my posts that I love architecture, typography and anything¬†vintage so these old finds are right up my alley. This bar in Rozelle is new but the clever retro design of the sign in a weathered style gives it an old world look. The empty shopfront in Bondi features original signwriting in the window with a pretty pink and white tile facade probably dating back to the 1950’s. The Royal in Bondi has just been revamped and I’m glad to see that the character of the pub has been retained. Sadly the tile words outside have been removed so I’m glad I captured it before they disappeared. I’ve shown examples of tiled signage in a previous post and it would be great to salvage them but I know tiles are difficult to remove successfully. These letters would have been so cool reinstalled by a swimming pool – fancy a dip?

TYPE-RIGHTER // modern love

I mentioned in an earlier post how I kept seeing the word LOVE everywhere, which gave me the idea to use this as a theme for a project. Making a start on this concept has stalled with the usual restraints we all have with work, family, friends and life admin. I’ve also been working on other business and product developments, which I’m still yet to finalise and launch. So I thought I’d keep adding to the LOVE series here in the meantime since I’m still coming across examples.

This window decal at Ziggy’s Barber Salon in Darlinghurst is fun but also supporting the LGBT community using the symbolic rainbow colours. Metal 3D letters highlighted with moody lighting and placed artfully on the wall at Gowings Bar in the city is also a stylish design. Two different treatments but these signs are still popping up to ‘show me love’ and it’s also a nice reminder for us all to believe that ‘you’ve got the love’.

MASTERSTROKE // poster poetry

Banksy has become world famous for his political street art but the mystery behind his identity garners just as much interest as his art. I’ve come across posters around the streets of Sydney with profound words but the creators remain anonymous. Sometimes the messaging is simple or has a satirical take with dark humour but the reader can interpret it to their own lives. It’s such a shame that council often removes them, like this second photo I took in Surry Hills years ago which is sadly gone. I came across the first poster recently on a wall in Oxford Street near the cinema, so I’m hoping it stays there for people to see. Coming across these poetic gems not only makes your journey more interesting but also gives you something to think about.

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