Practical typography vs typography as a work of art…

Practical typography vs typography as a work of art…

There are some wonderful examples of typography that can be found in many different situations. Some of the most beautiful examples being from many years ago. These little works of art can be overlooked as art perhaps because of their location, age, or perhaps practical use. Depending on the position and purpose, they are often only glanced at to convey an item of information, or identify something rather than considered thoughtfully as art. The message of, and reason for, the artwork is perhaps more important than the typographic art itself.

Is it no surprise how practical design and typography has changed over the years with the advent of technology and better understanding of how the brain interprets information quickly – such as in the situation of typography on a sign. There are times when form follows function, and this brings with it specific constraints in the design decision-making process.

Perhaps, sometimes, though, it is OK to still think differently, and make conscious choices not to simply accept ‘rules’ that should be applied to make ‘good’ design based on the advancement of technology and human understanding. So, can modern understanding of typography make it more practical and less creative?

With the question above in mind, below are some close-ups and examples of typography from the railways in history – including logos, names, information blocks etc. See if you can spot the odd ones out being a lot newer than others and more clinical! Sorry that some of the images shown are a bit blurred.

 

BR30t

 

BR29t

 

BR28t

 

BR27t

 

BR26t

 

BR24t

 

BR23t

 

BR19t

 

BR18t

 

BR17t

 

BR15t

 

BR14t

 

BR12t

 

BR7t

 

BR8t

 

BR3t

 

BR4t

 

BR5t

So, can modern understanding of typography and modern techniques make it more practical and less creative?…or has it not really fundamentally changed at all but just evolved?

Let us know your thoughts below…

Further inspiration…

A search for modern information sign design

More images of railway typography

A search for traditional and old font art
A search for typography design images

A search for font images

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