Archive for the ‘My Favourites’ Category

David’s Restaurant

August 11, 2010

David's Restaurant

I’m drawn to this sign’s weather-beaten appearance, but it’s the arching triangles of “Oriental Cuisine” that keep me looking and thinking. Would an Asian restaurant use this style of lettering in the present?

I’m also intrigued by the red arrows: one word on each of them, and they point in different directions.

The signboard with “David’s” painted on it looks like it could be a later addition. Is there another name underneath?


July 19, 2010


What I love about this wall is that you can see at least two different ads dissolving into one another. That word on the left looks like “PRINCE” and it gently competes with the Coca-Cola logo. I’m reminded of what it sounds like when the radio is tuned between two stations, that hazy, unrepeatable music.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to see this wall as a time-lapse film, a rapid dissolve from bare brick wall to ad to ad… through all the stages of visual ruin to its current state?

Deluxe, Classic, Regular

May 29, 2010

Deluxe, Classic, Regular

This sign is painted on the facade of a car wash that’s no longer operating. Read it line by line and it becomes an accidental poem.

It makes sense that “Deluxe” is up at the top. Being so far out of reach, it seems extra special. You have to crane your neck to see it.

“Regular” is more approachable, but has its own appeal: “Foam bath, Wash, Sparkle Rinse, Dry.” The simplicity is enough to elicit tears.


Mothers Sandwich Shop

January 28, 2010

Mothers Sandwich Shop

This sign has the exuberance of a circus poster. It takes a daring designer to put pink, orange and white type on a black background. My guess is that this display of style dates from the seventies.

It’s layered like a sandwich and there’s so much going on that it asks for more attention than we usually give these days. Are we willing to look up from a mobile screen long enough to see this?

It doesn’t matter: the sandwich shop is long gone. The current business below is a clothing boutique. The sign continues to announce “14 Varieties” that we can only dream of tasting.


Portugal Auto Garage

January 18, 2010

Portugal Auto Garage

What I like best about this sign is the little painting of the sports car nestled  under the arch of “Auto Garage.” The tomato red line is a bit wobbly and hesitant, as if made by someone more comfortable holding a wrench than a paintbrush.

The damaged black letters appeal to me as well. All those scratches give the business name a look that’s rough, ready and real. I’m reminded of the distressed type you often see in action flick posters.

And how about that repainted phone number? On another sign it might seem klutzy, but here? Just perfect.

I Miss You

November 22, 2009

I Miss You

Five things I love about this sign:

1.  It blows up a private sentiment to billboard scale.

2.  It invites you to imagine stories about “you” and “I.”

3.  Its zigzagging ribbons have the kinetic elegance of a spiderweb.

4.  It’s soul-baring yet anonymous.

5.  It’s gradually unravelling, like a less and less potent emotion.

If it’s still there in the winter, I’ll photograph it again.

Odds and Ends

November 6, 2009

Odds and EndsYou’ll find this sign above a Queen Street West junk shop that’s so jammed full of old clocks, scuffed paintings and garage sale clutter that you can hardly make it past the entrance.

A big orange “D” dominates the conversation. An “E” and “N” perform a lopsided dance. A rusty little “s” threatens to leave the party. There’s a garland of lights encircling the chaos.

I love this sign because it’s a perfect representation of what’s inside. It even suggests a mode of living: throw together the right castoffs and you might end up with ecstasy.