Usually, I would not pay attention to the typographical decisions that are taken into consideration when making a sign, but this assignment has helped me to be more conscious about these decisions. I focused on how the “Ñ” plays an important role in Spanish signs, since my major is Spanish. I was curious to find out if the Ñ in particular is more present than the rest of the accent marks, á, é, í, ó, ú, in signs. The few signs I found, however, featured words that were supposed to have these accent marks, but did not, yet the words that had the ñ always did. Even though I live in an area surrounded by many Latinos, signs that include Ñ were hard to find.
After I took several photos of signs, I became more aware of how space, color, density, kerning, and scale are essential elements that make a sign strong. Unfortunately, these aspects are often not portrayed in Spanish neighborhoods due to the lack of budget and education in graphic design, especially typography.
El Jalapeño - 81st & Broadway | Elmhurst
This is the only sign where all the accent marks are present. “M(é)xico & the ” ~ ” in “jalapeño.” Also it is one of the few signs that uses a serif with western characteristic to it. For instance, the high waist in the “A” and the high contrast in strokes shown in the cross lines (E, A) The thing that caught my attention was the how the ” ~ ” is portrayed as pepper and the name of the restaurant is a pepper, sometimes these obvious comparison might seen too ”obvious” and not really playful but I believe this time really worked well.
La Cabañita - 67th Street & Roosevelt | Woodside
As many of the previous signs this typeface is also a sans-serif. It is visually readable from a long distance because of the boldness with a very small contrast between the lines. The letters look bended and eve their counter forms which give us a sense of closeness.
La Antioqueña - 88th St and Corona Ave | Corona
This might had been one of the most less complicated signs I have chosen. It’s a sans-serif with very limited counter forms, especially the ‘A.” The ” ~ ” is consistent with the boldness of the rest of each letter. The space between each letter is also limited and it gives the final title a sense of condense.
Mi pequeña colombia - 83rd st & Roosevelt | Jackson Heights
As a Typography I student is hard for me to tell whether this typeface is sans-serif or serif since the “A” a& “P” looks like have feet. It is considered high waist and we can noticed by looking at the “E” & “A.” My favorite letter from this sign is the “Q” since the tail is very dramatic and it reminds me of “Don Quijote” The color of the typeface plays an important role since it looks like stone and the typeface has the effect of “decaying.”
La Caleñita Bakery - Jackson Heights | 83rd and Roosevelt Ave
The main title of of this sign is done with a scrip typeface that has high contrast in strokes since it’s inspired by the hand-writing (calligraphy)The E looks like is a small caps but the rest are lower case. I do not really like this kind of fonts in general because it looks confusing and it does not give me a sense rhythm.
Picateria: La Gualaceñita - Hampton St & Baxter Ave | Jackson Heights
One of the reasons I like this sign was because of the typeface, it’s a San-serif with a combination of high and low waist letters. For example: the A is a high waist letter and the R is a low waist letter. There is no much contrast between the “strokes” yet the “ ~ ” is thinner than the rest of the lines. The use of color is important to the sign, the blue, yellow and red represents the colors of the country’s restaurant: Ecuador. There is a problem with the spacing between each letters, for instance, the Gua LACE ñita.
Pañito - Roosevelt Ave & 82nd St | Jackson Heights
In this photograph I want to portray the usage of heavy fonts and that is consistant with the “~” on top of the N. I think the heaviness of the fonts made this sign successful in terms of legibility from a distance since I can read the message from far away but the kerning at the bottom where it says “OPTOMETRIST” is poorly done, because one can notice the problem gap areas. In terms of the colors, the white against the marron color also plays a big important when it comes to visual legibility. Above all, I think there could have been a bit of more interactions with the letters and the symbols, like the eye and the glasses.
Doña Maria - 43rd Avenue & 91st PL | Corona
In this photograph, I want to depict the contrast between the old sign that has the Ñ and the more modern sign below. The colors of the sign on top have faded away due to its oldness, but the lovely illustration in between the two names has still its beauty. In this case the way the Ñ is shown is very close to the letter below, if you look far away, it almost look like a regular N. The touch of vintage looking sign is perfect example of how time pasts without notice the changes until we see signs like this one. Once again, as the previous signs, the usage of accents is not being taken serious but the usage of Ñ is always portray. Maria should be MARÍA.