I have always had a fascination with letters and words for as long as I can remember and until a few years ago, I did not realise that my actual fascination was with typography and lettering. The way the letters can form so beautifully leaves me in awe. It seems natural for me to focus my dissertation on lettering and typography.
The terminology is often confused. Lettering is the art of drawing letters by hand, usually in a one-off decorative way. Whereas typography is the study of letters applied to typefaces and usually the creation of fonts, such as Helvetica.
In my dissertation, I am planning to explore lettering in the digital age and how it is used in branding and advertising rather ...view middle of the document...
We believe everything is disposable and do not make anything to last.
Seeing a painted sign above a shop front now denotes a personal touch, the owner cares about its business and has old, traditional values. The shopper will instantly know that the store is not part of a chain of thousands, replicated and dotted all over the country, seemingly cold and uncaring, but it is owned by a local of that particular town or city and you will receive a warm welcome and possibly a friendly chat with the staff while looking around their shop. Small shops like Berry Red in Hereford instantly spring to mind.
Not only are hand painted signs dying out, but learning cursive in schools is also slowly becoming extinct. The argument is that children should know how to type and prepare themselves for a technology-dependent future and there is no longer any real need for cursive handwriting. The argument then arises that since handwriting is no longer something we do often any more, rather we tap away at laptops and computers or write notes on our smart phones and send text messages rather than letters, before pulling out a pad and pen, then the old fashioned way of writing is then romanticised. “Handwriting slowly became a form of self-expression when it ceased to be the primary form of communication. When a new writing technology develops, we romanticise the older one… The supplanted technology is vaunted as more authentic because it is no longer ubiquitous or official… Conventional wisdom holds that computers are devoid of emotion and personality and handwriting is the province of intimacy, originality and authenticity” (Anne Trubek – Handwriting is History 2009)
This argument can be applied to sign writing (or any other form of lettering) too. The rarity of a hand-painted sign has made them something special, human and even endearing.
I would like to explore the cultural aspect to sign writing further and how the tradition is still going...