04 March 2009

A Closer Look At The Cupertino Street Blades

1964.We revisit the look of the street blades they grow in Cupertino, California, thanks to my Cupertino Bureau Chief Sharon, who sent a bigger picture (with my profious thanks):

We can see the font a bit better now. It looks very much like they're using the Souvenir font here, or something like it.

That's an important point. Type carries baggage with labels like "meaning", "mood", and "import". The usual faces we find on street blades, namely simple, clean sans-serifs, very business-like, devoid of sentimentality or cosyiness.

That's not a criticism, by the way, but a simple statement. There are situations where certain approaches are appropriate. Street blades with simple, clean, businesslike type are eminently appropriate design usages.

The type of the Cupertino signs, however, puts you in a different frame of mind. The type is serfed, artistic, soft. Just by mere comparison to the faces you usually find on a street blade, they evoke a sort of "country-club" feeling; sophisticated, quaint, poised, refined. They encourage the eye to linger a few moments longer. The type in and of itself is more interesting.

One can argue that a softer-type approach to labelling streets is called-for or not, but what can't be argued with is that looking at these street-blades, you feel as though you've driven into a more exclusive neighborhood, and as far as that goes, if that was the aim of the jurisdiction, it works and works very well.

There are absolute design concerns, certainly, and there are relative ones as well. The intersection of those two streets is where you'll find the most workable application for the context.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,


Snowbrush said...

I never would have thought to look at them a second time, but I can see everything you say when I do.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

That is an incredibly poetic way of saying it, Snowbrush!