Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

D & M Liquors Beer-Wine

January 9, 2011

D & M Liquors Beer-Wine

One of the things I love about San Francisco (and there are too many things to list) is that there are neon signs everywhere. Here’s an example in Pacific Heights, a liquor store sign with a beguiling use of pink.

Neon has a way of promising enjoyment, whether it’s on a movie theatre marquee (see my last post), a liquor store sign or a gambling palace. Who can resist neon’s buzzy, blinking, multi-hued come-on?

At the beginning of a new year, it’s easy to find pleasures to exclude from your life – booze, cigarettes, fattening foods, arguments with your partner. But what forms of pleasure will you vow to include?

Your “no” list is likely predictable, but what’s on your “yes” list?

Grand Lake

December 31, 2010

Grand Lake

This is the marquee of the Oakland movie theatre I featured in my previous post. (It’s the first time I’ve highlighted a location twice, but I couldn’t help myself.) This sign has the irresistible gaudiness of a Christmas tree. All that neon promises further visual splendour and excess if you buy a ticket.

The Art Deco lettering balances the sign’s flashiness with cool elegance. There’s something so suave about a curved “A” as opposed to a pointy one, don’t you think?

Happy New Year everyone!

Grand Lake Theatre

December 28, 2010

Grand Lake Theatre

I was in San Francisco earlier this month and took this picture while across the Bay in Oakland. Why do words in reverse have such a magnetism? They’re still legible, but at the same time they’re peculiar graphic marks that suggest the strangeness of all written language.

One thing I particularly love about this sign is the network of beams holding the letters aloft. From a distance it has the look of a cobweb.

Hope you’ve been enjoying your holidays!

The B y

September 8, 2010

The B y

Some signs have alter egos: they appear to be one thing by day and another by night. Here’s one I noticed recently: the Bay when the sun’s up and the “B y” after hours.

Somehow it’s comforting to know that even a sign as iconic as this one can suffer from burnt out bulbs now and then.


June 15, 2010


“Never” is one of those words that’s enjoyable to say, but less enjoyable to think about. It has a ring of finality that makes me uncomfortable.

This particular “never” is part of a longer saying embedded in the sidewalk. Here’s a test of your prowess as an observant Torontonian: What’s the full saying and at which intersection will you find it?

Price Chopper

June 7, 2010

Price Chopper

These letters are stuck to the side of the building like giant fridge magnets. They’re chunky and clunky and their shameless inelegance is a big part of their appeal.

There’s more than a hint of something violent in the name “Price Chopper,” so it’s perfectly fitting that there’s nothing dainty or subdued about this sign. The blaring orange backdrop seems to say we’re relentless and unafraid to go to extremes.

If you’re chroma-sensitive you might feel intimidated, but my advice is to view this sign as a visual dare. Take it on with both eyes wide open and see what happens.

Back on Saturday

May 27, 2010

Sorry for the delay in posting. Life has been a little hectic recently! I will be adding the next photo on Saturday. See you then!


Village People

April 23, 2010

Village People

I spotted these posters a while back on one of those “Post No Bills” walls around a construction site. They’d already been scraped at and painted over, but were still visible, proving that you really can’t stop The Village People.

City walls are battlegrounds and messages constantly get wrecked. It’s the damage that keeps me looking; what about you?

Abraham Duggan Hoppe Niman Stott

April 14, 2010

Abraham Duggan Hoppe Niman Stott

This sign is simple and enigmatic: five names in alphabetical order, each one occupying less space than the last. No hint about what the list signifies. If you don’t already know, it’s up to you to find out. That reticence is surprisingly effective and the unadorned typography adds to the impact.

Say the list aloud and it has an ominous sound, like an incantation. What mysteries await behind this green brick wall?

Danger Due To __________

April 10, 2010

Danger Due To

I love the concept of a fill-in-the-blank danger sign. It acknowledges that the world is so full of perils, we couldn’t possibly print up unique warnings for all of them.

In this case, it looks like the weather has washed away the lettering inside the box. There’s just a faint trace of writing left behind. It makes the sign even more arresting: if it were a voice, the last word would be a horrified whisper.