To complete this research I decided to take a long walk around my local town armed with my camera. I initially was a little dubious as to how many different examples of vernacular typography I would find but once I got started I was snapping away every few minutes. Vernacular typography is type design in common use, often created by untrained designers or developed to suit the particular needs of a certain location or culture. This was an interesting exercise as I started to look at my environment in a more detailed way… things and places I had passed a hundred times on my way to the shops suddenly caught my eye and exploring the area from a different perspective resulted in me seeing so much more of what is right under my nose.
This example was out the front of a vintage clothes store. I was interested by it as the lettering itself is very simplistic, lacking any uniformity or apparent care yet written in such a way on an old suitcase works brilliantly at conveying the personality of the store.
I loved the local council’s use of a design by a child for a public sign. The sign was at a local playground and the hand drawn typography connects well to the environment.
The local war memorial uses a classic Serif typeface which conveys the seriousness of the words and a tone of respectfulness. The typeface has a historic quality which fits with the era of the memorial and will remain timeless through the generations.
I spotted this rather decorative lettering on what remains of an old building close to home. It turns out to be the gothic frontage of what used to be the premises of Adlard and Son, printers of “hospital and asylum contracts, scientific literature, finest illustrations in colours and black and white, and weekly, monthly and quarterly journals”. The company was founded in 1766 and had London premises Bartholomew Close, near St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London.
Some further examples of local vernacular typography included: