Famous fonts are all around us, and some of the best designs can elevate letterforms to icons. When you think of Paramount Pictures or the Dodgers, how can you not instantly picture their illustrious logos? Every day for the past year on his website Retro Script L.A., typeface designer David Jonathan Ross (along with photographer Emily Richardson) have posted photos of the beautiful cursive letters they pass driving everywhere from Santa Monica to Downey.
The site documents signage filled with swoopy curves and sharp arcs that adorns dingbat apartment buildings, vintage neon signs, and terrazzo floors. All it takes to add a fanciful name to your triplex is a reciprocating saw and some plywood, so owners went wild in the 1950s,’60s, and ’70s, naming complexes for family members, faraway places, and local geography. That typeface on “The Hauser” is stunning!
Ross is more attuned to the shapes of letters than most of us, but the jazzy, happy letters in a sign like that of the La Traviata apartments in Santa Monica (pictured) can transform a boring building, brighten a commute, and help us see the city in a new way. Follow Ross on Instagram at @RetroScriptLA.