14 July 2010

[type] Rustic Type as Exciting Design: Pete Vogel's Nutmegger Workshop

A while back in a posting I was recommended to the Nutmegger Workshop, http://www.nutmeggerworkshop.com. I was remiss in not exploring that link a little further, an oversight I rectify here and now!

Pete Vogel, the proprietor, specializes in reproducing the look and feel of old typographically-driven signs, back when sign-makers painstakingly and lovingly created every letterform by hand, with brushes and paint, resulting in a look that is old-fashioned but timeless, charming, and quintessentially American (like the signs that the Portland Building Ads blog finds on a constant basis).

Here he is, in his own words:

Basically, I am attracted to the unadorned typography and sign layouts from the past. I love looking at old ghost signs and faded brick ads, the historic link to the past is what fascinates me the most as I've always wanted to be transported back 100 years. Typography and old signage make great art, especially the larger scale signs. Consider these old replicas in the same context as architectural salvage pieces like a vintage cornice from a house used as a centerpiece for a large space. I think vintage signage brings the same dramatic impact, especially if it is relevant to ones city or living space, or to a favorite destination. Like any art, it's the same form of personal expression, but much more graphic and memorable.

These signs, all personally created by Pete, evince a time we see as more genteel and charming so well that they almost transport you there.

In 1902, the "New York Grocery" did business at the address of 420 Morrison Street. If you remember any Address Nerdery at all, then you know that the lack of a directional meant that this was west of the Willamette, and that there were 20 house numbers to the block meant that it would really at about where SW 11th Avenue is today.

Reproduced by Pete it becomes a warm, friendly bit of decor, invested with history:

Pete's signs are also done on a custom basis, which means any hobby or obsession you or your spouse or loved one might share can become a classy, old-fashioned, typographically-delicious bit of home pride:

And while this Oregonized Nutmegger (he imported himself from Connecticut, the Nutmeg State) has an entirely laudable focus on images from Portland history:

(Dore and Cook Steam Printers plied thier trade
on Front Avenue around the beginning of the 1900s)

He casts his visual design eye far and wide as well - why, not even France and Germany are safe - with charming result.

Pete at work: Clicky to Embiggen

It's nifty to be sure to see someone at work achieving the old styles in traditional ways. By keeping the past alive this way, we have a visual record which helps define the present and point at the future. It's type, and respectful historic type, so I like it a lot, and I see nothing not to like here.

See Pete's work at his site, http://nutmeggerworkshop.com, where his successes are on prominent display, his respect for history is evident, and you can perhaps buy some of your own.

Pictures used courtesy of Pete Vogel, to whom I extend sincere gratitude.

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Nutmegger Workshop said...

Thanks Sam!

Isa said...

Interesting style. They look great in the home.