About

Lettering and architecture

Lettering surrounds us. Written inscriptions, signs, billboards, advertisements, shopfronts, cornerstones, plaques and memorials are everywhere. They compete for space, jostle for our attention and shout at us from every street corner.

But how often do we look beyond the words to the lettering itself? How does the design of the letterforms impact on how we interpret the message? Conversely how often do we see architecture where written signage is an afterthought? And can architects bring something new to the traditional lettering arts?

This website purpose is to record examples of the creative use of lettering in London’s built environment, as well as noting incidental information gathered while researching some of the above questions.

Background

This site is part of a project funded by the RIBA Gordon Rickett’s Memorial Fund. Its aim is to explore the links between architecture and lettering arts.

The research started off by looking at contemporary written inscriptions, most of which are in stone. In seeking out these examples it became apparently that – for better or worse – letter carving of this nature is used in formal, monumental settings, or for memorials. So I have expanded the scope of my research to include other materials and mediums, as well as certain historic examples which have played a part in the development of lettering art and typographic design.

The images and information on this site is updated on an ad-hoc basis; it is in addition to the main research which is offline. The site’s purpose is to record examples, share information, and showcase creative contemporary uses of lettering and architecture.

You can also read about this research in the RIBA Education Yearbook.

About me

I am a freelance writer and publisher based in London with an arts/design background; I have spent the last 10 years working in architectural publishing. I have a fondness for typography and its history and am an affiliate member of the Letter Exchange. You can also find me on Linkedin.