Art on the Go: Typography Photoshoot in Your Town

Type in My Town No.1 by Wanderlust Designer
Type in My Town: Photo shoot of Downtown Signage by Wanderlust Designer

There’s nothing like scouring the cities of Paris, London or Rome and stumbling across vintage signs and old stylized type to photograph– but sometimes, just looking around your own town, you’ll be surprised at what you might find!

Although I wish I could travel full-time, the reality is I have kids in school, and a husband with a great job (in an office of all things)– so for now in our lives, we travel during the school breaks. Perhaps that will change soon, but in the meantime, while at home, how can I starve off my incredible wanderlust? Why not head out my own front door on a photo shoot, you never know what you’ll find!

Typography Photo Shoot Ideas In Your Own Town

Although I knew of some iconic typography in my town (neon signs I will feature in a future post), I was actually surprised at what else I found. I’ve only been on one typography photo shoot in my town so far, but have many more ideas on where to hunt to find more shots! Here are some ideas to get you finding cool typography and photo opportunities in the town you live in:

Guy's Hair Stylilng - Retro Font at a Local Barber Shop by Wanderlust Designer
Guy’s Hair Stylilng – Retro Font at a Local Barber Shop by Wanderlust Designer

Downtown – Like most towns in America (and around the world for that matter), we are most likely to find a Starbucks or other chain store in our downtown. That signage is ubiquitous. But what about the little mom and pop shops? I’m sure there must be a few still surviving in your local downtown area? I loved the “Guy’s Hair Styling” sign I saw outside a local barber shop. From what I know, Guy is no longer there, but his sign is. It’s such a great retro font– and the shadow behind it from the sun was fabulous!

San Carlos Apts Retro Font by Wanderlust Designer
San Carlos Apts Retro Font by Wanderlust Designer

Apartment Buildings – While picking up something at the local drug store, I spied this incredible type on the apartment building across the street. I’m in love with the font! Apartment buildings (especially those built in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s) were often named. The typography can have some incredible retro charm. Although the town I live in was settled in the 1800’s, many apartment buildings sprung up in the 50’s. Now it’s my turn to hunt them all down!

Electrical Disconnect - Thought Provoking Type by Wanderlust Designer
Electrical Disconnect – Thought Provoking Type by Wanderlust Designer

Industrial Area – An industrial area of your town can offer loads of typography photography. From warehouses, to industrial signage to graffiti, it’s amazing what you may find. My town has a thriving industrial area which I have yet to explore. I did find this “Electrical Disconnect” sign in a back alley though. Out of context, it is quite thought provoking.

Oldest Area of Town – If your town has history, then there must be a few remnants of typography remaining to prove it. How about in a back alley… is there some old signage painted on the back of a building? What about the train depot? In many areas, like my own town, the train station and or surrounding area is very historic. The arrival of the train is what brought people to buy land here and “move to the country”, as it was thought of back then.

Residential Neighborhoods – Even walking around residential areas can offer some fun typography photographs. In the 40’s and 50’s many neighborhoods were named for the developer. Are there any signs left of this? There are also street signs that might be meaningful for you, or possibly a lone corner store, still in operation. Don’t think that just because an area is residential, there are no typography examples– people love to label things and put signs up!

So, get out your camera and head out on a photo shoot! It’s a great way to get to know your town and even find some surprises.

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