The letter X is super cool. Who knew such imagination could be embodied in two lines crossing each other at their centers? We have serif and sans serifs and quite a few awesome, quirky type faces. Of course there’s the old stand-by: good ole Fed Ex, the “x” that completes the subliminal arrow. But I found myself oddly intrigued by the fluffy Lorax X (upper left). The lower right X was on a bus sign advertising a video game, while the lower middle X was on a sign for a building in the Financial District. Which one is your favorite? Mine is the purple serif. Classic. Cool. Readable.
Curvy, straight, colorful, bordered, and graphic – W’s come in all shapes and sizes. Of my favorites, the Wonka W is definitely number 1. I love the flourishes on both ends, the light lavender beveling, and the dark purple border. They make it unique and exciting but without harming its readability. One the other hand, the loopy center of the Walgreens W, while less legible, is unmistakeable.
Of the less opulent varieties, the simple black W on the white background (middle row, left) has an interesting middle section that I enjoy, while the green bordered W on the red background (bottom, left) just seems angry.
The Letter V is a peculiar fellow; when I looked for him casually for the standard two weeks, I only found two — but when I when on an adventure this past weekend specifically to find him, they were everywhere. Unsurprisingly, most were of the standard up and down variety. However, I did find a few with a bit more intrigue.
Of the interesting V’s I found, most were less tall and more stout. One of my favorites of this variety is the Volvo V (bottom left), found on the trunk of a rather old model in my neighborhood. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the concrete V (top middle), pressed into the sidewalk to designate the streets at each corner.
Is it wrong to like the Visa V (Top Right)? I had barely realized the credit card company had changed their logo when I stumbled across it. Not sure I agree with their reasoning that it “reflects the evolution of the company” though. Sort of reminds me more of the Sysco but whatever.
To round out the collet we have the V on the side of our trash collector trucks (top left), a sign about alcohol (middle left), a V off the tailgate of a super old Toyota pickup (middle right), and a V from a sign in the window of a legal firm (bottom right – I like the contrast of the rounded bottom with the flat tops).
I was surprised to find that Us are not uncommon – once I started looking, I couldn’t stop seeing them. Finding interesting ones, however, presented a challenge. As always Helvetica and Stencil dominated but I found a few stellar examples.
One of my favorites is the Gap “u” composed of many lines in an art deco inspired style. The cursive “u” on the green background was an exciting find as well. I was rather surprised by the UPS “u” with the straight right side but no tail. The winner of this competition, though, must go to the Muni “u.” I love the lines that change thickness and the way it connects to the letters on either side.
Another common letter, T is everywhere. Surprisingly, though, many look disgustingly similar. These are my top picks:
First, where would we be without the Tiffany T? I pulled this one, complete with robin egg blue background, off a advert in the financial district. My favorite though is a tops up between the red and white T from outside the chinese restaurant near my office and the lowercase black and yellow T from the Sterling Bank ATM.
This week’s entry is an open and shut case. The letter S is the most popular letter in the English language. But they’re not only everywhere, they also come in a variety of squiggly shapes and styles. Choosing my top three was difficult but choosing my number one has never been easier. My favorite letter S goes to the logo of my alma mater: Syracuse University.
We now move into what I fondly refer to as “the bonus round.” As some of you Pat Sajak fans might already know, in the bonus round of Wheel of Fortune, the contestant is given the 4 most common consonants (and the most common vowel) before they are expected to solve the puzzle. Three of which fall right in a row. These letters are: R, S, T, L, N, E.
After Q, R was certainly a bevy of possibilities. So varied is its form. From the capital R in serif and sans, to the complicated script R, which looks nothing like itself. My top 6:
The pink and purple R is by far my favorite followed closely by the gold serif R found on the outside of my office building (**0 California). The descender on the brown R is also, quite lovely and even delicate.
I’d have to say of all my picks, though, the techno, red and white R is my least favorite. It’s too curvy, and I don’t like how it’s all one line, therefore creating two x-heights. Detached from its counterparts, indeed, it barely looks like the character at all.
For almost two weeks I searched and search for Qs — along my morning route, my afternoon route, even while grocery shopping. And what did I find? Nothing. I was desperate. Where were the Qs??? I finally decided to do some research – what words started with Qs? what words contained Qs? and where could i find them? I locked on to the word “square.” I hiked out to Union Square a few blocks from my office and found…. Qs.
The uppercase Qs are clearly more exciting than the lower case, which all have the same general silhouette. Of the uppercase Qs, I can barely choose a favorite. They’re all so different. The perfectly circular versus the oval with the varying stroke. The cross that crosses through the O? or the line that simple extends from the bottom? So hard to choose!
The letter P was rather easy to find and came in so many more varieties than O. The problem with P was the way the bowl of the letter extends out over the other lowercase letters.
In the top row we have our commercial P’s: Pac Sun, Panera, and The Washington Post (from the Kids Posts my mum sends in the mail!).
This second row is stenciled P on a concrete wall, a parking sign from the Financial District, and a decal from a van logo.
I’m not sure which one I like best. The parking P has great color and is so clean, while the stenciled P has great texture.
Last year I started a variation on a 365 project where I went about town searching out each letter of the alphabet for two weeks at a time — 26 letters, 52 weeks in a year, you get the idea.
Everything was going swell up until about August when I posted my last blog on the Letter N. Not sure what happened, but I stopped and never completed the project. The Letter O sat in my to do list for weeks and then months on end.
With the start of the new year, I’ve decided I am going to finish what I started. And so here, the first of my alphabet posts for 2012: The Letter O.
I’m starting to wonder if maybe the reason I stopped posting was that Os are hard to find. Not that there is a lack of usage, but that they are all just so… circular. Two of my top 3, I feel look too similar. The O on the left is from your standard street sign where as the O in the middle is a decal on a store window. My definite favorite of the 3 is the third O, all the way on the right. I love how the stroke thins so suddenly at the top and then fattens up along the edges.
The letter N comes in many shapes and sizes. From the pedestrian (far right – plastic Thank You bag) to the awesome (the other two).
I think you’ll recognize the N on the far left – that’s the N in Nook, the Barnes and Noble e-reader. The middle N was one I found in my general travels and thought was super cool with the unexpected descender and historic resonance.
Living in Silver Spring there were certain M’s I felt obligated to photograph.
The first is the iconic Metro M; I chose the brown over the black – why aren’t the giant Metro poles brown when all of the cars and most of the highway signs are???
The second was the University of Maryland M. I found this one off the side of a golf cart on the College Park campus. Go Terps!
The third honorary spot was up for grabs. I photographed quite a few. But when it came down to editing this one found randomly at a nearby stationary shop toppled the competition.
It is SO good to have a Wheel of Fortune letter again! def: one of the letters given to the player during the bonus round on Wheel of Fortune; group consisting of the letters R, S, T, L, N, E; six of the most frequently used letters in the English language
I was a bit worried L would be like I and just be a bunch of lines, but not so. People are creative with their L’s! I whittled this group down to my favorite 5. Among them are the symbol for Lexus and the Staples logo.
It is my opinion that the letter K is pretty friggin’ cool. None of this “just a line” crap like I got with the letter I and I’m pretty sure will come up again with the letter J – there are THREE lines in a K and right now that’s enough to get me pretty excited.
I also really like the K’s I found in my usual bi-weekly hunt. All the way on the left is from a glass store front – love the curly, sweeping style. The middle is from a sign – so graphic! and how many street signs do you know with punctuation? The third I love for the detail and the grunge. I found it outside the Comcast Center’s loading dock.
The Letter J was definitely not the easiest of letters to find. Unlike I which was everywhere but interesting, J’s were just… nowhere to be found. Here are two of the J’s I found in the last two weeks. I am dedicated to shooting a Jamba Juice when I am next at one as well as a good shot of Trader Joe’s.
The J on the left is from a John Deere vehicle while the J on the right is off a dumpster in the Comcast Center’s parking lot.
Why do so many fonts make the letter I look like a solid straight line. Finding interesting I’s was incredibly hard. I think I’ll probably encounter this same problem again with the letter L…
The script I was my savior. I love the way the one on the far left looks. The green lowercase “i” looks far too much like it’s comic sans. ::barf:: The third I is great except that the lightening bolts grown into the space of the following letter. The last “I” is off a classic Buick. I love that color blue.
No offense to the letter “H” but he is one super easy letter to find. It’s at the beginning of so many words! and IN so many words! LOVE IT! Among the H’s featured below are Hallmark and Hyundai.
I’m catching up! Promise!
This was my first time using my iPhone to capture letters and wow! Not only was my back highly grateful but it made it really easy to get a shot of my favorite “G.” The Getty gas station “G” was either up really high on the sign or down really low on the gas pump itself. Using my Nikon would have meant contorting myself or eyeballing it for the low one but the live screen on my iPhone made it super easy to get the shot. ::winning::
Sorry this is late in getting out there. I’ve had some trouble finding F’s. If they’re in the middle of words they aren’t interesting, if they’re at the front of words and ornate and awesome they often stretch into other letters in the same word. ::le sigh:: One thing I have found is that the sides of trucks are pretty reliable sources of interesting typography – not too high up either. Perhaps a trip to an industrial park is in my future?
In elementary school we are given lined paper and led to believe that each letter in our alphabet bust be drawn “just so.” How many of my mother’s lectures did I sit through where she told me a ‘U’ was a ‘V’ if it didn’t have a tail? More than a few. And yet, as adults we can easily recognize the general shapes of letters amidst a myriad of different flourishes. Indeed some letters missing not only their “tails” but also whole lines are easily identified by our well-trained brains via law the Gestalt Laws of Perceptual Organization (my other major was psych). Such is the case with my favorite example of the letter E (far left) compliments of the Espirit logo.
In my fourth edition of my Project 52 I have come to observe one thing (and brace yourselves for this one, laddies) store signs are really high up.
I know that just blew your mind but, no, I’m serious.
Have you ever gone to the mall and tried to take a picture of the “D” in “DuClaw?” Those letters must be HUGE and yet I find myself taking full advantage of the 300mm zoom on my cropped sensor camera because, in order to capture anything at a decent angle, I’m standing on the opposite side of a 4 lane street. The letter D:
My search for the letter of the week led me to Kensington and its antique district. There were quite a few awesome retro fonts but, unfortunately, a lot of the signs had fallen into disrepair (see “C” far right where the plastic stick-on is peeling up.
My favorite one actually appeared on the side of a delivery truck (far left). I loved the color and hand-drawn quality.
…maybe I should take a look at graffiti?
Finding B’s was slightly more complicated than finding A’s. I was definitely more highly tuned to finding cool typography but have you ever tried to take a picture going 60mph? Not cool. I think I’m going to need to make special trips to places like old town Kensington just for their awesome retro fonts! (& maybe do a little antiquing while I’m at it.)
I’ve always been pretty captivated by 365 projects – that’s when a photographer takes and posts a photo every single day of the year. Somehow to me that just seems a bit daunting.
So when @photoradar came out with their 32 photo projects for 2011, I decided to take a look. I decided to go with project #8: A-Z. There are 52 weeks in the year,and 26 letters in the alphabet, giving me two weeks to take pictures of each letter. I started a bit late, which means 1 week for A and B but completely doable and I think I’ll have a fun product when it’s all done.
Here’s the letter A: