Monday, November 19, 2012

Midtown Detroit to Mt. Clemens on a Bicycle, and the Signs along the way...

Gratiot Avenue shoots north east out of the center of Detroit and runs 20 miles straight into Mt. Clemens. For as long as I can remember, i've always wanted to ride my bicycle or walk this road that connects these two cities where I spend so much of my free time. The signs that line this street are mainly hand painted, and date back to a time before vinyl cutters ruled the landscape. I have a great amount of respect for these signs and their creators, for it is a fading art form that we can not afford to forget (especially us graphic designers!)

Blue Cruize was my worthy steed for the day. 20 miles on this thing and I wasn't any worse for the wear! I love this bicycle.

Here's the route I took-- as you can see, just a straight shot up Gratiot out of Detroit and into Mt. Clemens.

One of the first signs I saw on the day, and I must admit it was one of my favorites. That "Sticky Fingers" font it so clean!

Great script font.

I love the cast iron frame.

Amazing chrome font.

Not particularly great, but notable for its folk-art style...

 Again, my favorite, the Chrome Font. I

 more chrome.

 I particularly love when signs reach a certain age where their paint fades, revealing the brush strokes.

 Great cursive matched with a nice thick stroke on this one really makes the font pop on that yellow background.

I love arrow signs.

 A cousin of the "Chrome Font" is the beveled metal font. Extra points for the never ending drop shadow behind it too...

Car washes have the best signs, I swear.

This font is kind of cool because it looked so different from anything else I saw that Sunday. Very neat.

Looks like someone did a touch up with the "Phone Cards" bit.

Hands down my favorite color combo on any wall I saw Sunday. The chartreuse and the chrome font are just poppin'!

Second only to the car wash signs are the barber shop signs.

 Cool little twinkle stars next to Quality. I love little touches like that...

This one was cool too, not only for its exposed brush strokes, but because it was so damn weathered. 

 Nice detail inside the "1928" with the subtle highlight.

 Even the place I stopped for lunch had a hand painted sign! Also, i love painted signs having anything to do with beer, especially when they attempt to paint the beer bottle or mug. So great.

 Cool color swap going on. Great way to break up the message and keep the same color palate going on.

 Again, neat little flare at the end of each letter gives the font some class.

At the end of the day, my body was aching from traveling the 20 or so miles on foot and on bicycle. I had seen more of Gratiot in one day than I ever have in my 26 years of living in this region. When I laid my head down for sleep at the end of the day, i could close my eyes and see a slide show of all of these fonts rotating through my head, the chrome fonts, the scripts, the block letters, each one delivering a different message, painted by a different hand, from a time long long ago. Long live the hand painted signs!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Funny Bike: Bomb Pop

Built this little number last night. Got the Sear's frame and stripped it down, threw on some blue rims with new rubber,  20 out back 16 up front, used the old seat from blue cruize, got the handlebars and stem from my boy Lumpy, chain ring is also from blue cruize, and the girder forts are my favorite part, also from Lunpy's parts stash too. She won't be seeing any 20 mile rides (just yet!) but its a great bar hopper and fun Monday night project. d

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

out and about

 Late season Kayaking

 At the folks new crib on the water
 blue cruze back in action
 doin it right
 wish i had this van, so bad ass
 inside and out, ruler.
 last final bonfire at Oxford, we did it right.
Tour De'twa late last month. 5,000 bicycles take over the city streets, pretty amazing sight.