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Taking Type for a Walk

9th March 2015 by Josh Beadon

Graphic Design

I like to walk. I don't particularly mind where I walk - windy coastal hikes along rocky clifftops; gentle strolls through leafy and well manicured parks or hasty marches through urban cityscapes - it clears my head and is good for me too. 

It was whilst I was walking along the South West Coast Path at Hartland in North Devon a couple of months ago that I was suddenly struck at the amount of typography I was seeing - there were fabulous views too of course - and despite the fact that I was in the middle of nowhere I was being directed, given instructions or offered information: "Please Close the Gate"; "No Overnight Camping"; "On this site stood..." 

So how much of this do we take in? How often do we walk straight past and not notice this stuff? Why do we notice some and not others? And it's not just about the messages either - what about the design of these various signs and messages?. What about the typefaces?; the materials? the colours?, textures? etc. 

So I started to photograph some of the more interesting ones and post them on Twitter - @walkingtype

How do I define what's interesting? Well I don't have any particular criteria to be honest. It could be a flourish on a particular letterform, or some heavy weathering on a sign, it might be something shiny, or made of an unusual material, it might simply be pleasing to the eye or carry a thought-provoking message - infact it could be almost any reason actually. 

I'd like people to join in - so if you're out walking and you see some typography that grabs you, take a shot and post it to @walkingtype along with a hashtag of where you saw it. Together we just might start something great!