wayfinding love fest

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.


4 responses to “wayfinding love fest

  1. Nikki, I’m so glad you posted an entry about our unique street signage here in Albuquerque. They are the work of a very talented Albuquerque designer, Jamie Jett-Walker. You can see more of her work here:http://www.jettwalker.com/.
    Looking forward to seeing your presentation at HOW in Boston. Cheers, Kevin.

  2. Nikki. We were very lucky to have renown designer and pioneer of wayfinding, Lance Wyman (lancewyman.com) working on this program. Lance has also been involved in developing the icons for the Railrunner, City of Santa Fe Wayfinding. In addition, the late Rick Vaughn of Vaughn Wedeen Creative was the design firm of record for the project. Our website is actually designconcernus.com. Your posts and musings are wonderful.

  3. Pingback: street signs | culture+typography·

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