New York City in July — with TypeCon2005 in town and mayor Michael Bloomberg's official "Type Week" proclamation, typography was hot in the city. In celebration of the events, FontShop held our first FontHunt competition.
In a sort of typographic scavenger hunt, residents and visitors of the Big Apple were invited to grab a sheet of FontHunt goals and scour the city for interesting type and lettering. And scour they did. We were delighted to receive hundreds of photos from FontHunters — from obscure street signage, to giant glyphs atop buildings, to letters baked into pie.
From these entries we chose five winners, based on creativity, quality, and sheer number of typographic goals captured. The Gold Cam and a cash prize of $500 went to a team of six lead by Tyler Imoto. Thanks to all the entrants for helping us take the love of type to the streets.
Gold Cam ($500)
Tyler Imoto, Thomas Bugarin, Sarah Evans, Kerry Ko, Tara McClain, and Pasha Prakasa
Silver Cam ($250)
Mike Danskin and Meg Wrenn
Bronze Cam ($100)
Honorable Mention:Adrianna Evans and Anna Wilson
Honorable Mention:Alexander Tochilovsky
We asked each of the FontHunt Medalists to comment on some of their more interesting snaps:
Team Tyler Imoto
I thought I was so clever thinking we'd be the only ones to know about this. Then I was so disappointed to see it was listed on the instruction sheet. How did we get past weekend security? We have our ways.
Found in the women's restroom stall at Real Simple magazine. True to the saying, "always an editor."
I was a given that everybody would get this goal. But execution was the key here; beautifully shot by Thomas, a real photographer.
There is so much Officina in this city, it's out of control really. And Meta, too.
Any journalist knows where Times Square got its name … so it's a good thing Tara and Sarah, two of the industry's finest, flew all the way out from Oregon to help us get this shot.
This girl caught us off guard in a Times Square crowd. We fumbled for the camera and followed her until we could get the right angle. Luckily for us, her brawny boyfriend didn't notice a thing.
Embroidered type. I knew my friend, Kerry, would have the perfect, err, jeans(?), for this project.
We never took our minds off the task at hand, even when stopping for some pad kee mao.
And as for all of the Broadway in Broadway font photos, all I have to say is thank god there isn't a Comic Sans Ave.
Mike Danskin & Meg Wrenn
Dee Dee Donuts has been around for years, recently a Dunkin Donuts opened next door, with entrances on both sides of Dee Dee Donuts. Dee Dee Donuts sign has been missing letters for years.
Mike put his hands up in the air to emphasize that it was him standing under the Jazz sign. He also wore a bright orange shirt to stand out.
The photo was shot in late afternoon. Perfect time for a sign to look like it is glowing. We liked how the sun was still out and the over head lights were on.
There was no question about this category for biggest letter. We see this sign every time we are on the F train. It's huge. Not exactly sure why the T is so big.
Meg's Dad likes to make sure he gets credit for his delicious peach pies, to ensure that happens he writes out "Peachy by Roy" in dough.
The ball ended up in my backyard in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Not sure how it got there.
Our names in Etch-A-Sketch, need we say more?
This photograph was taken in the East Village on an industrial street. It shows the auto shop has a sense of humor about themselves.
We were asked to photograph certain iconic New York images, the Yankees clubhouse being one of them. This photo, then, is really one in a series. I decided to put my friend in the pictures to make them a little more visually interesting. I decided moreover that I didn't want to take conventional shots of him in front of the locations I was shooting, so I tried to take him out of the frame as much as possible. In this case, I thought it would be amusing to have the bat come out of his head.
We were also asked to take photos of the work Paula Scher has done around NY. This is from Symphony Space, at 96th and Broadway.
This was taken in Brooklyn in an old factory neighborhood. The black paint is not what spells out the name of the dairy company — the bricks themselves do. The bricks that spell out the name were highlighted in black.
Adrianna Evans and Anna Wilson
We happended upon this goal as we were meandering around Times Square, soaking up all the fonts that surrounded us, and struggling to beat the sensory overload we were experiencing. My friend ran across the street to stand underneath it.
On the mission to find fonts in unusual places, we walked past a group of construction workers taking a morning snack break. I approached this man and he gladly allowed us to take a picture of his body art for the contest.
After a long day of helping a friend move, we realized we should use this opportunity of having free labor on hand. We recruited several volunteers to spell the word "RIP" with their bodies. We picked this word because it was short and our apartment was small.
In Brooklyn. Jonathan Hoefler knows more about it, but I believe this is the sign of the old Schrafft's candy store, or restaurant. W.F. Schrafft & Sons Corp. was a large candy manufacturer during the early 1900s. The space is now occupied by a large chain pharmacy.
The old Beekman movie theater on the Upper East Side closed a few weeks before I took this. I can picture it in the mid-1950s, in all its glory, lit up with the inline neon. Sadly the site will be demolished, but the signs will be moved across the street to a different movie theater.
This one is really a gem! It is found in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The delicatessen in question is not in business, and it appears has been like that for quite some time. What struck me is the way the modular tile system works on top of the blackletter's broken-stroke system. I am fascinated by these loose formal interpretations of Fraktur forms. This area at one time was populated by German immigrants, and boasted an impressive number of Breweries, close to 100 I believe. I am going to venture a guess that if this was made today it would have been set in all caps; how horrible that would be.
This photo (I have more) was found in a small shop on the Lower East Side. The store seems to have been at the same location for a very long time. There are boxes stacked to the ceiling, and all around the small space, allowing for a very narrow passage into the store. There is no computer in sight, and the whole inventory is arranged in boxes like the one pictured. They are all identified by the same hand-lettered signs. One of the workers is responsible for the lettering. He told me that as a young boy he attended a calligraphy class and that some of that training has stayed with him, albeit in a slightly loose way. What's great about it is that it is constructed with a sharpie, but follows the strokes of a broad pen. Almost a skeletal representation of broad pen writing. I also think the fact that the store sells undergarments makes these boxes even more intriguing.