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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Tarmac Typography

‘ONLY’ on the Parade

The Parade here in Leamington Spa (current awesome slogan: You’ll love it) is being renovated, and last week they put the street markings on fresh tarmac.

It’s fascinating watching the bloke doing lettering. In one hand’s a metal pot of hot molten ‘paint’, in the other a handle with a rectangular mold on the end. The paint is steadily poured in and escapes the mold through a gap along one edge as it’s dragged along to draw the letters. Stopping and starting would produce uneven results, so a letter O is done with a single deft sweep of the handle. The paint sets almost immediately, so one slip and there’s a nasty mess to drill/melt off.

Being a bit of a design geek I couldn’t help but notice the letters are all monospaced, apart from the letter I, with no kerning (you could park a car between the L and Y). Of course, I made sure any discussion of this was out of earshot; when a man has hot paint in one hand and a metal implement in the other you don’t criticise his typography.


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