Display it…
January 13, 2012

Display typefaces

Display it…I am currently working on a project for which I’ll be using some display typefaces, and since starting on the work I have become a little obsessed with them. During the initial meeting with the clients I explained to them the history of the style of lettering and, remembering my time as a first year student at University, I dug out my copy of ‘Printing 1770-1970, an illustrated history of its development and uses in England’ by Michael Twyman. In this invaluable book I was able to show them plates illustrating 19th century billposters plastered across walls such as the Alhambra Theatre, Leicester square in 1899. It demonstrates the varied use of the large wood cut type alongside illustrations on billposters advertising amongst others ‘Yorkshire Relish’, ‘Table Salt’ and ‘The Daily Telegraph’. Another plate illustrating a railway station shows how every facet of the large platform walls are covered in posters, and how the large ‘decorative’ type is used in a practical way to grab the attention of the comuters.

These posters were often seen as a nuisance by 19th century contempories, but now are used in more refined ways. Lately I have seen a version of Rosewood used on signs in retail stores (Next are using it in window displays at the moment), and rather than being used to ‘shout’ over all the competition, contemporary typefaces that take inspiration from 19th century wood type are being used on delicate wedding stationery.

Thanks to my new found obsession with this genre I have come across plenty of contemporary typefaces: Fontspace has a few interesting typefaces.

When I can I’ll post my endeavours to use the typeface on the latest project, and I’ll be keeping my eye out for more examples whilst out and about.

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