Shop Signs from Rome
30 August, 2016

There is so much to see in Rome, and the unique signage is just one small aspect. These pictures are all from a quick trip in July of this year. Here are more images of signs and letters from other trips.

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29 August, 2016

SPQR, abbreviation for the Latin phrase Senātus Populusque Rōmānus (meaning The Roman Senate and People), is found all over Rome. Without consciously trying, I collected a whole set of SPQRs on my latest trip to Rome. The variety found in just these few makes me want to go back and search out more.

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Genova House Numbers
2 July, 2016

Just a few nice house numbers recently found in Genoa/Genova Italy.

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18 June, 2016


Photo taken at: Vatican Museums – Musei Vaticani

View in Instagram

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Faenza’s Giant Cemetery
10 November, 2014


Here are a few of my wonderful finds from Il Cimitero Dell’Osservanza in Faenza, Italy. This beautiful and sprawling cemetery takes hours to properly walk through, it is full of countless inspiring inscriptions, and it’s absolutely worth a visit. Maybe the Kerning conference will organize a tour of the grounds one of these years.

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Faenza Signs
2 August, 2014

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Kerning Conference 2014
7 July, 2014

I missed the first Kerning Conference in 2013, but I made it to round #2 this year. My very short review of this short conference: it’s a great excuse to visit Italy. I decided to go just a week before mostly thanks to finding an extremely affordable flight and reasonable hotel deal (and the conference itself was rather cheap). The speakers or talks weren’t such a draw for me (which turned out to be a good thing, else I would have been somewhat disappointed). But with this mindset I was able to simply enjoy my trip, and not be dependent on incredible/inspiring conference performances.

The organizers did a wonderful job. Everything seemed smooth, the coffee was decent, food was tasty, location was great. But I must say, after attending, it’s not clear to me exactly who this conference is made for. Is it for Italians – to strengthen and inspire the Italian scene, or is it for foreigners to come see Italy? It seems to have been in some undefined middle ground. There was only one Italian presenter, and the others were very typical big names that you see at many other conferences. As a non-Italian visitor I would have liked to have seen more local voices, or at least different people from every other conference. But from an Italian perspective, Kerning is a nice excuse to lure the bigger names to this small city.

My only other organizational complaint was the lack of wifi. Us poor non-Italians didn’t get to contribute to the #keming twitter discussion. In lieu of not tweeting during the talks, I’ll offer up Twitter-styled commentary on each presentation. (The reviews were written a month later, and having not taken notes at the time, these are ultimately the long-lasting impressions.)

@ Francesco Franchi
It was great to see Francesco speak. He can make any news item interesting. I think he and Jan could work well together.

@ Ellen Lupton
Was way less crappy than at ATypI Lisbon. That was a relief. Her themes of narrative and  storytelling were fairly interesting.

@ Vincent Connare
Dalton Maag portfolio review.

@ Jan Middendorp
Jan was the highlight of the day with a non-typical design talk. We should open our eyes to the world around us, ignore less, care more, & do more.

@ Jessica Hische
Jessica is a charismatic presenter.

@ Erik Van Blokland
I’ve already seen this talk, but it’s totally re-watchable. Erik is such a hardcore nerd it’s utterly fascinating.

@ Elliot Jay Stocks
“Let’s look at the state of web typography now… Check out these blog posts of mine from 2 years ago… they are still relevant, nothing much has changed.”

@ Frank Chimero
My first time seeing Frank, I was hoping to finally understand what he’s about, but I didn’t. He’s great with Kickstarter tho.

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AV Kerning
26 June, 2014

I noticed something odd in Faenza, Italy but unfortunately I barely documented it. For some reason, the letter pairs of AV & VA are often super kerned. The first few times I saw it, it seemed like an oddity, but eventually I was noticing it everywhere. It wasn’t always over kerned, but it was generally tighter than it needed to be (and tighter than the overall spacing of the rest of the letters).

The question now is: why? And is this phenomenon localized to this area of Italy? I don’t recall seeing this in the other Italian cities I’ve visited.

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Faenza House Numbers
12 June, 2014

They are almost always hand painted numbers on ceramic tiles. Sometimes they are fairly funky too!

This gallery has been updated in 2017 to include a few new images from this year’s trip to Faenza.

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Roman Letters
3 July, 2013

From the archives, these photos were made back in 2007 during the Reading trip to Rome. The concept is along similar lines to my ‘left out letters’ series as an excuse to make, shoot, and share letters in a foreign city. The complete alphabet it made up of miscellaneous letters that I was looking at during the course of my MA studies, they are examples of individual characters I found interesting and beautiful at the time. All images were taken around Rome everywhere from obscure alleys to the biggest tourist spots. The forum, Pantheon, Trajan’s column, Vatican City – all the big spots can be seen here.

The letters are made of paper, hand cut and folded. They were approximately 3×5 inches.


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Florence Inscriptions
19 December, 2012

Beautiful inscriptions from the ancient to the modern can be found all over Italy. This small collection are some of my favorites from Florence…

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Venetian Signs
26 October, 2012

In Venice for a day, I found it to be a depressing city. It was clearly once a magical place — it must have been really amazing back in the day… But now it is falling apart and is over-ran with tourists. In most European cities you can sidestep a few main roads and avoid the major tourist traps… on first inspection, Venice was a bit different. The whole place seems like one giant tourist trap. There must be some decent other areas, but I did not find them on this trip.

That all being said, there were still some cool signs and I also got a nice little collection of interesting house numbers. I’ll have to go back again for a biennale – and hopefully see more off the sneaker-beaten path.

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