Week Two – To Live and Type in LA
Ed Ruscha, The Back of Hollywood, 1977

Week Two – To Live and Type in LA

Based on the, errrr… feedback, I moved away, fairly swiftly, from the manipulation of an existing typeface in order to try to create one. I returned to Module 1 and the Diamond Exchange, which is perhaps emblematic if not symbolic of Downtown’s recent history. A former theatre, the fortunate shape WB logo has been replaced by an opportune Diamond for its current incarnation as the Diamond Exchange.

Not wanting to just copy and paste I started from scratch and got an almost identical outcome. And it is fine, is it Los Angeles? Does it say, Los Angeles? I don’t know.

Based on the previous ideations, I decided to add a feeling of structure and armature, the rebar and steel brackets that hold some much of Los Angeles’s typography above the city

Alluding to structures, changing viewing perspectives, and neon-lights
Just a simple rectangle, inspired by pixelated images on freeway signs, buses, food trucks, construction vehicles, and billboards.

Moving away from the rectangle and boxes, I returned to some of the initial finds to try something different, which I think ends up looking a bit like a bad free font. And certainly does not feel like a particularly Los-Angeles-esque typeface

In addition, the Clifton’s lettering is set in the ground, to me, Los Angeles is all about silhouettes against the sunset or dawn; freeways palm trees, police helicopters, freeway signs, billboards, electricity and phone wires, and signage. Because Los Angeles is so flat, its typography is frequently large and growing into the sky. Always viewed slightly distorted and ever-changing as we move closer and further away from it, the only thing more oversized than the typography might be the dreams of the new arrivals. And the signs last longer.

Sometimes it is good to revert to a city’s abbreviation. And maybe my current favourite.

I started this module emphatically stating that the Hollywood sign is not representative of Los Angeles, and yet now, week two, could it be that while the front – the side that most visitors seek out and equate with the city – is not representative, the back of it, the armature that holds it up the piece, the actual workhorse of the sign, the part that is seldom seen is, in fact, a perfect symbol for Los Angeles as a whole, and arguably the inspiration for many of my ideations?

Ein schöner Rücken kann auch entzücken.

If it is good enough for Ed Ruscha, it is certainly good enough for me

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