Saturday, January 27, 2018


Squared up

To complete my trio of posts from Lincoln, here’s a couple of street name signs that caught my eye. I can’t say I like them quite as much as the strong and characterful Egyptian letters that I’ve always admired in Louth, my favourite Lincolnshire market town, northeast of Lincoln itself on the way to the coast. The Louth signs have everything going for them, it seems to me – clarity, distinctiveness, a style that works well across the varied town centre, a coherent overall shape.

These Lincoln signs, by contrast, have letters which seem rather constricted. This is particularly true of some of the rounded letters, the S especially, which looks as if it has been squashed so that it has flattened at the top and bottom. The same effect appears on the O, although the curve of the U has a more rounded form. However, the signs are clear, and the even effect when the letters are set quite close together. as in ’St Swithins Square’ is elegant. The border, formed like a picture frame, is effective too, and unusual in my experience.*

The more I look at these signs, the more I like them. And they are wearing well, although the left-hand one could perhaps do with a bit of rubbing down and painting up. I’d much rather have these than the flat, plastic signboards that are now so common in many places. I hope Lincoln hangs on to them.

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* I’m having fun, by the way, trying to guess what was painted on the wall before the signs were fitted. The ghostly letter that’s just visible does not seem to be of the current street name.


Stephen Barker said...

Would they look better if the top edge of the frame was painted black as well?

Eileen Wright said...

I like those very much too, Philip. I've always preferred sans serif lettering; it looks neater to me, and I too like the frame-like border. I was a graphic designer before personal computers, when everything was done by hand, and I still have a case full of letraset!

Philip Wilkinson said...

Stephen: Maybe. The Louth ones are enhanced by their thin border of black.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Eileen: Ah! I remember Letraset...and the smell of Cow gum! Years ago I was an editor, and worked surrounded by graphic designers using the stuff.

Eileen Wright said...

Great reminder about Cow gum, Philip. Also affectionately known as Moo Glue! ;)