One of the most overlooked design casualties of global homogenization is regional lettering. The introduction of mass-produced signs is a relatively recent innovation, and in the past if you wanted to keep out trespassers or sell wares you either made the sign yourself or commissioned an expert.
“Before the proliferation of cheap vinyl printing, signage was created by artisans and sign-makers, and their work was naturally grounded in the local visual culture,” graphic designer Molly Woodward, the creator of Vernacular Typography, told Hyperallergic. The ongoing online archive gathers around 10,000 photographs of lettering from around the world, from Argentina to Japan, although the lion’s share is from New York City, her hometown.
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