1As I am nervously anxiously excitedly preparing for my upcoming speaking engagement for the HOW Conference, I put together a map of the United States of all the cities I have been fortunate enough to visit with my Speaking Gigs. Throw in a couple of conferences and a personal trip here and there and I am slowly making my way to each state. As I’m visiting more and more cities, I’ve found I’m becoming very picky about the pictures I take. I’m very focused about looking for typography that is unique to a city. After a speaking engagement, it is my habit to wake up stupid early to spend as much time as possible walking around taking pictures. Devoting several hours completely focused on typography makes me feel, as I have described before, drunk on type…which then leads to a typographic hangover the next few days. It’s awesome.
Last year at the HOW Conference in San Francisco, I had 5 days to focus on the typography of the city. So, you can imagine what it was like coming down from that high. One of the unique characteristics of that city is their wayfinding system. I fell in love with the way the street signs are stamped into the concrete (now everyone knows what color shoes I wear!). Seeing that San Francisco is a pedestrian friendly city, it makes perfect sense. This is in addition to the regular signs for cars mounted above the street. The street signs reminded me of Charleston, South Carolina, also a pedestrian friendly city. So, I thought you either get the stamped concrete signs for pedestrians or you get the typical green signs mounted above the street for cars…until I went to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ummm, holy shit is what I said when I saw these. How awesome and perfectly appropriate for the city. You put that street sign in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana and it’d look so ridiculous. Fun Fact: Central Avenue is also the famous Route 66 that cuts right through downtown Albuquerque. Here’s a close up of the right hand side of that sign:2I love the jagged edges and pixelated look. So awesome and so unique to the city. Here’s a shot of another street sign a couple of blocks away:3I guess some heavy cargo got rolled down this street?
I love studying the typographic landscape as I go from city to city. Finding treasures like this sing to my heart.

1Here are two post offices that I have come across. The post office in Pittsburgh has definitely seen better days. Like, waaaay better days. It’s amazing to me that they’d let the sign get to this state but I’m digging the typography. Here’s a shot taken from the front. Excuse the telephone pole that is photobombing the picture (jerk):2Here’s a close up of the letters and numbers from the now vacant post office in Cincinnati:3Special shout out to those S‘s. They are having a little too much fun up there. And the C. And what’s with those massive periods?! Everyone needs to just calm down!

1It’s Manhole Monday! Today I’m pairing 2 of the smallest covers I have come across. I should have put a penny down for size comparison when I took these pictures but who thinks of that when letterhunting?! Not me! These are bigger than a penny but would still fit in the palm of my hand. Does that work? What I love about these covers, besides how teeny they are, is the way the state is abbreviated: TEX and CONN. No punctuation and a complete disregard for the usual abbreviation: TX and CT. Look around, there’s beautiful typography everywhere, even on teeny manhole covers.

granada spain bettina way @thewaytobe
For my 1ne post today, I’m going with this religious tomb taken in Granada, Spain. Big thanks to Bettina Way for sharing her picture. Looking at this beautiful Arabic script that is chiseled in concrete makes me look at the graves here in the States in a whole new way. I have found that the graves in the different cities I have visited aren’t really unique to the city they are in. With the exception of New Orleans, where they are above ground, graves are graves. While the lettering is beautiful and the illustrations are always interesting, I haven’t found anything unique about their specific location. I will keep researching though because I’m fascinated with how the letterforms appear on someone’s final resting place.

It’s the weekend! Back at it on Monday!

This post was originally published on November 18, 2011:

…because sometimes you just need a luchador.

1Some of my favorite finds are when people decide to take typographic liberty. Here are two great examples of that. I came across this 20% off sign while walking around San Antonio right near The Alamo. In case you can’t tell, this is hand made using painter’s tape. That 2 is like nothing I have ever seen before. Like, EVER.
The hand painted numbers in Cincinnati started out, from what I can tell, with really good intentions and a lot of patience. It is obvious that it didn’t take long for both to wear off. Those poor numbers. Bless their hearts.
Here’s a picture taken across the street:3 See any great typographic finds in your city? Take a picture and tweet it to me @nikki_vz or email nikkivillagomez@gmail.com to be featured in an upcoming post.

1 8.37.37 AMThere’s nothing quite like a typographic identity crisis to get you going in the morning. Big thanks to DeWayne Esson for snapping this picture in Nashville. The minute I saw it I thought of the cluster of craziness that I took in Miami. Both of these signs leave me wondering what the heck happened. The placement of the O over the ampersand makes me want to punch someone in the face. In theory it’s a good idea {i think} but in reality it’s just not working. The ampersand/C relationship, also not working. While we are on the topic of not working, if anyone has a truck handy, you can go ahead and park it in between the R and the K. Good lord.
Moving on…
The store front in Miami couldn’t decide which typeface to go with, so they went with all of them. Literally. I’m sure this is either multiple businesses or a business that once was that never properly vacated their branding. All I know is what I see, and what I see is a mess. Not only is it a typographic confusion, there’s also a language issue going on. Art Estudio? Spanglish FTW !

1It’s Manhole Monday! Last week I was put through the ringer going from Phoenix (work) to Albuquerque (speaking engagement). It was an overwhelming week to say the least. I took over 400 pictures (which seems to be my average) in New Mexico and the city of Albuquerque was everything I had hoped and more. I’m looking forward to going through my pictures and using them in upcoming posts. Since I’m still coming down from my trip, I’m going with two covers that I have come across that are an odd shape. I’m used to seeing the typical round or square covers. These two caught my eye due to their funky shape. See any manhole covers in your city? What makes them unique? Take a pic and send it my way! @nikki_vz or nikkivillagomez@gmail.com

When I was in New Haven, I spent most of my time there walking around the campus of Yale University. My big take away was the amazingly beautiful and intricate lettering that is on the buildings. As I was taking picture after picture, I knew I wanted to put them all in one post. I have never seen so many in one place. One of my favorites was this one:
bitchenUp until about 30 seconds ago I could have sworn that said Bitchin’. Sadly, that’s not the case but Bitchin’ is a good word to describe just how awesome these pictures are. Enjoy!
cambridge arms 1 cambridge arms 2 cambridge arms 3 cambridge college 1 cambridge college 2 james 1 james 2 james 3 john 1 john 2 john 3 john 4 johnson 1 johnson 2 jonathan edwards college 1 jonathan edwards college 2 magher 2 magher sterling 1 sterling 2 sterling 3 sterling 4 sterling 5It’s the weekend! Back at it on Monday!

This whole speaking engagement thing is such a crazy awesome whirlwind. There are some cities I visit like Atlanta, Columbia and Cleveland that I feel comfortable going to even though the speaking gig itself makes me so nervous I want to puke. There are other cities like Sioux Falls, New Haven and Syracuse that, in addition to wanting to puke, I have no clue what to expect from the city itself. This is the case for me today. I have never been to New Mexico and have no clue what to expect from Albuquerque but I’m totally stoked to see the city and meet the people from there. If you’re in Albuquerque, I hope to see you tonight! Bring a barf bag, I might need it!

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