A typographic survey of my neighborhood

Paul Cutler's picture

I decided to post some photos of my neighborhood in Echo Park, Los Angeles, California. This is one block of Sunset Boulevard between Echo Park Avenue and Laveta Terrace. Actually I ran out of memory in my camera near the end so almost one block.

The photos


lore's picture

I feel like I've been there. You should organize a typographic Walking Tour in LA like they do in London.
Check this out:

timd's picture

Paul you should try to bring those images into more context with a map or a general landscape, even the mundane can present questions, why is it that guard is so often mispelt? who would be scared off by that picture of a Dalmatian?


Just in case your interest was piqued by the description of Postman's Park mentioned in Lore's link.


Paul Cutler's picture

Actually when I first posted there was a map, I just didn't like it. Perhaps I was mistaken.

I was trying to take a very blank approach and just walked the block shooting, then posted them in the order I found them. I understand the value of context so I will try to rethink an approach that isn't biased yet establishes the scenario a little better. It really is a rich neighborhood…

Eventually I intend to do several blocks in the 'hood'.

The dalmation is by far my favorite photo… :)


gln's picture

The photos you took are excellent examples of how typography is badly used in the signage field.

It may just be bad design.

This is not criticism of your photos or subject matter but rather an observation.


Paul Cutler's picture

That's what the photos are for…

I am very happy to be surrounded by this signage.


hrant's picture

Typography is badly used most everywhere.

But when lettering is bad, sometimes
it's OK, and other times it's actually
better bad.


Paul Cutler's picture

That's what I like about you Hrant, decisiveness…



andi emery's picture

Wow! That really gives you some insight into your neighbourhood - what eye candy! Makes me want to see the buildings and street too - the people on the street - everything in context - maybe in a storyboard. Hey, this would be a really great student project -thanks for the idea Paul!

lore's picture

usually when talking about street signs, what worries me is not the style but the size. I’ve been recently in a city near São Paulo and I was shocked (and not particularly awed) at the way signage and publicity practically hide the front of buildings that could be historically interesting. Because cities are not planned to encourage people to walk rather than drive, the size of these signs is impressive as it needs to catch the eye of a person inside a car driving at a reasonable speed. I assume the lack of trees is a consequence since a tree would prevent drivers to read the sign. From this point of view, cities and towns in the state of Sao Paulo look pretty much the same, some are greener than others etc. but a part from that there is no way to differentiate one from the other. That's different in Europe where there are very strict laws regarding to this issue. In some cities in Italy (I don't know if this works everywhere in Italy) you are forced to choose from a very limited palette of colours when painting the external part of your house. A guy I know tried to escape the palette (he chose a really nice and discreet blue instead of the mustard/terracotta standard) and there was a big fuss about it, everyone was saying whoaaaa, take it easy, we are not in Mexico! On the same note I find it more relaxing walking on a street where the signs are not too invasive.

lore's picture

Where is the tool to insert images gone? umph....

Paul Cutler's picture

The laissez faire nature of this signage reflects the neighborhood. It is very relaxed.

This area is an mix of a new yuppie population interacting with a Latino population that is firmly established. Gentrification has not conquered yet, unlike a lot of areas here.

Thoughts on Echo Park:

When I first moved here I woke up to roosters and went to sleep with dogs. Now not so many roosters.
I saw an Episcopalian nun and a Seventh Day Adventist lady in front of a bakery screaming at each other "You're going to hell".
I saw a hawk circling Echo Park Lake and then diving to catch a fish while simultaeously looking at the downtown skyline.
A man chasing a chicken, catching it, ringing its neck and carrying it into his "butchery" through a door with a horseshoe hung over it.

Once the 99¢ stores go, it will be time for me to move on…


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