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S UR F A C E

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Public type on wood, brick and metal. L O R I N O VA K


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SURFACE Public type on wood, brick and metal. L O R I N O VA K

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>>>>>>>>>>>Public L O R I N O VA K

type on wood, brick and metal.


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P R E F A CE

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A

S U R FAC E

constitutes a boundary of an object in ordinary threedimensional space. Weathering is the chemical and physical process that changes the characteristics of natural and man made materials over time. With nature’s elements helping to corrode public signage, the roughness and character of each letter becomes that much more visible depending on the surface it’s on. There are three main surfaces in our environment, wood, stone and metal. By comparing each surface and the effect weather has on each—our daily type will not be forgotten. Natural weathering is inevitable but it has different effects on each different surface. Weathered type reminds us of what once was. The weathering effects on the typeface allow that original surface to come back to life. Roles are reversed: at first it’s the surface, that surface gets covered with type and then the type becomes weathers and wears back down to the original surface.


S PL INT E RS

WO O D

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splinters and withers over time and so does the typography that’s on it. The grain of the wood begins to tear through the letter forms giving them a rugged look. I found wood to be used as secondary signage. They also seemed to be the most personal signs out of the three surfaces I focused on. Used to mark things such as homegrown foods or a vegetable stands. On most buildings I would find a large main sign made of a more sustainable material and then have a secondary wooden sign pointing on something specific such as a sale.

W O O D


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V E G G I NG O U T

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WH ILE

adventuring in North Lawrence I stumbled upon this

with the words “fruits and vegetables” on it. The type

charming vegetable stand. Although it appeared

had withered from wind and rain. And because it

to be abandoned, it wasn’t entirely forgotten. The

was being propped up by the dirt itself, the buildup

man who owns this is known to never stand guard,

had worn off the bottom of the sign entirely. The

but has enough trust in the community to be honest

weathering gave it a grainy texture and subtle grunge

when they take his produce and to pay for it. There’s

and not the clean slab serif it was meant to be.

a sign up sheet where you write what you took and how much it was. To compliment the handmade stand there was handmade signage. The one I was

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particularly interested in was a large wooden sign that was propped up against the front of the stand


AB ANDONE D.

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ANOT HER

form of abandonment except this one is for good. An old garage that was formally a small business is left behind. We know this because a spraypainted sign on an old wood door that reads

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“out of business�. The paint is so weather and worn that the colors blend with each other and it is hard to make out. In this case, the original surface is taking over the type almost completely.


WES T BOT T OM

G E T OFF M Y L A W N >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

THIS

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type on wood was about as old as their owners. Although

W EST

B OTTO N S

in downtown Kansas City was a jackpot for public

this type is barely legible and could have been writen

typography on different surfaces. This run down stock

in sharpie, it was probably the most protected and

yard has so much character because of how worn down

cherished found type I discovered. This type was a list of

it is. This small world of empty buildings and forgotten

all the things an elderly couple grew and sold from their

signage is a big reminder of things left behind. This

home. The way the paint is peeling took out entire chunks

particular sign gets swallowed up by the giant brick

of the words. The weathering is sentimental, it shows

building it is mounted on. It reminds me of a badge of

how much this type and business has been through.

what the building used to be. The letterforms have faded

While photographing these signs I was questioned by the

and warped into irregular shapes.

owner. He toldme that these particular signs have been causing neighborhood drama and that people down the street were trying to get them removed. I thought it was wonderful how the warped type mimicked the struggles it has gone through.


GHOS T S

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02 NAT U RE ’ S

most popular texture, type on brick creates a nostalgic and beautifully worn picture. The physical effects from the weather make some typography on brick so faded and fragile that it is hardly even visible, just like a ghost. These ghost signs embody the past uses of the building and hint at the life that once was. The texture of brick is so strong that it takes over the letterform, especially when you factor in wind and water erosion.

B R I C K


IN R UI NS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

RE MN A N TS

of an entire town are barely visible on the old buildings of the Central Industrial District in downtown Kansas City. Being one of the oldest areas of the city, West Bottoms is home to the Kansas City Stock Exchange and the Kansas City Stockyards. The area has been prone to floods and has survived the Great Flood of 1951 and the Great Flood of 1993. The community is striving to revive this abandon town. With revival, they are also bringing attention to the past. A past that is written all over the walls.

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W O R N AND T ORN

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T HE

weathering on some stone increases the readability of the type. On some though, the edges of the lettering will become rounded and less distinct as weathering proceeds. Faded and worn. Some are barely readable it’s so faded by the sun and eroded by the wind and rain.


“ W E M U S T N E V E R F O R G E T T H AT THE WORDS B E I N G V I S U A L LY EXPRESSED A C T U A L LY S A Y SOMETHING THEY H AV E M E A N I N G . ”

—Paul Tosh


PA S S I N G O F T I M E M ANY

of the buildings in West Bottoms have overlaid type. This really shows the passing of time. At one point this building was used for something entirely different. Just as life keeps moving, type does as well. The white text is framed by the faded black typography. However the newest layer of type is also suffering the effects of weathering and the two are mending into one in some areas. The messy painted letters mimic the atmosphere of very industrial, West Bottoms District.


TO P Q UA L I T Y >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

KEEP I N G

the spirit of West Bottoms alive, Quality Roofing Co. is not only a functioning business in the district but they also advertise their business on the side of their brick building. Beautifully done, the advertisement is keeping the tradition of painting directly on the brick. The texture of the brick has broken through parts of the crisp white paint, giving it that historic feel and making it cohesive with the surrounding buildings. The dark red of

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the brick contrasted with the white typography makes it able to be seen from the highways that run through the district. It is a beautiful display of typography on brick.

Even with the fresh paint, Quality Roofing Co. is surrounded by typography of the past.


“NAMING P L AC E S A N D DEFINING S PAC E S ” —Baines


An old furniture warehouse on the exterior of West Bottoms showing the severe effects weather has to typography painted on brick.

PRESE RVA T I ON >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

T HE

quality of the sign depended greatly on the placement. West Bottoms is a maze on industrial brick warehouses. Walking the exterior is where I was finding signs that were faded beyond recognition from decades of exposure to the elements. Moving inward however, I found that some of the signs were preserved from the

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weather and elements.


“ E C H O I N G THE ROBUST COMMERCE OF T I M E S PA S T. ”

—The Painted Ad


READ THE SIGNS A LON G

with painted signs, West Bottoms also had some companies with signs hung from their exterior. In the photo to the left, you can compare the two. The painted brick-wall advertising medium is a historical feature found in numerous locations throughout West Bottoms. It is a form of advertising that combines art, craft, and industry and that has faded from modern city life. This medium had its peak production from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. The sign became a part of the structure, custom shaped to fit the location, with a life span that often exceeded 100 years. With increased competition from electrical signs and the growing use of billboards, painted brick-wall advertising began to disappear.

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RUS T

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ST RE E T

signs tend to have a lot in common. Although different messages are to be communicated clearly, the way in which each and every sign has a consistency that we can all recognize is astonishing. The expressive characteristics the lettering of street names occupies isn’t limited to just “computer� type. The use of hand techniques and local personality can be equally as charming. I am personally more drawn to the ones that are worn and tattered rather than brand new.

M E T A L


ON THE ROAD

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M A JOR I T Y of metal signs can be found on vehicles. Weathering >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> is a huge factor with this typography because cars

travel and besides the garage are always outdoors. The biggest problem that I found was the chipping of the paint used on the type. Because it is always exposed the wear is inevitable. The flaking paint from the weather deletes pieces from the letters making some of them hard to read. On the other hand, this gives them a texture and makes them feel historic.

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S IGNS

ST R E E T

signs tend to have a lot in common. Although different messages are to be communicated clearly, the way in which each and every sign has a consistency that we can all recognize is astonishing. The expressive characteristics the lettering of street names occupies isn’t limited to just “computer� type. The use of hand techniques and local personality can be equally as charming. I am personally more drawn to the ones that are worn and tattered rather than brand new.


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RUS T E D

GI V E N

sufficient time, oxygen, and water, any iron mass will eventually turn entirely to rust and disintegrate. Rust is the reaction of iron and oxygen in the presence of water or air moisture. But what happens to rusted typography before it completely disappears? Rust swallows anything and everything in its path, especially type. The dark red rust tears through the letter form, making it illegible. Rust on metal is the most severe of the effects on surfaces that I have focused on. Instead of enhancing the typography or giving it texture, rust completely destroys it.


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A NOT HER

common metal in our lives other than vehicles are mailboxes. Like cars, mailboxes are primarily outside and have to endure the affects of weather. Mailboxes are full of different styles of typography. They have indented type, decals, and even hand painted lettering. This wide range of uses gives plenty of opportunity for wear and tear. The affects of weather of each different type treatment gives these mailboxes personality. The hand painted type gets chipped, the metal rusts, the decals get wrinkled and

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you don’t know where to look.


CONC L US I ON

S O U R CES

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://www.acontinuouslean.com/2008/12/11/flickr-find-painted-brick-signs/ http://www.appliedaesthetics.org/ART132-01/13/baines-haslam.pdf http://creatingcommunities.denverlibrary.org/story/painted-brick-wall-advertising-signs I N

CON CLU SION

the surface type is on combined with weathering

http://www.westbottoms.com/

affects determines the look of that type. Weathered

http://www.westbottoms.com/

type on any surface is nostalgic and reminds us of

http://paintedad.com/

what was. Wood splinters and cracks, brick erodes and wears, and metal rusts and erases. Our history is written all over our environment, and it our choice

http://paintedad.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rust

whether we recognize them or not.

D E S I G N E R AS AU T H O R PAT R I C K D O O L E Y FA L L 2 0 1 1 , T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F K A N S A S


Surface  

Public type on wood, metal, and stone in Lawrence and Kansas City.