Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Signs from Italy

There are a lot of beautiful signs in Italy, though Rome's on average have been made by bad sign shops over the past 20 years or so. This is an example of what I mean:

This small cafe near the Capitoline Museum was nothing special, and its sign reflected that lack of care. Comic Sans and Century Gothic, generic fonts you can find on every computer, arranged in a generic way with no impact or meaning. Boring.

Outside of Rome, there were some other oddities.

This sign, located at a restaurant on the edge of Pompeii, isn't horribly designed, but what it says is laughable. Ristorante Turistico... "not just for tourists."

But that's nothing compared to this one, which may be the worst sign I've ever seen in my life:

It promotes what I think is a bar or a private club in a suburb of Naples. Clearly, it was built for a different business that had a reason for making it the sign in the shape it is. When Noi Con moved in, they reused the lit box, as often happens since these things are expensive to have made.

Unfortunately, Noi Con's sign shop did the opposite of what should have been done: they put the smaller words on the sides instead of within the curved cutout areas at top and bottom. This means the center part of the sign, where the main name goes, is cramped on the sides and the type has to be smaller than it should be.

This is more like what the sign should have looked like, without even changing the fonts or design much:

(And that's not even mentioning the television antenna sprouting from the top of the sign.)

Bologna's signs were much better than Rome's. Very few bad ones, and a lot of beautiful ones like this:

Unfortunately, the Bella Vita sign is right across the street from this one:

Which is much more in the vein of the average Roman sign. Cluttered, hard to read, and using inappropriate typefaces.

This one (from Bologna) may be my favorite bad sign of all time, though:

I think the designer of this "luxury" sign went to the Donald Trump School of Art (an offshoot of Trump University). It just screams luxury, doesn't it?

Finally, a lost-in-translation sign:

As in French, the word for tea is "the" (pronounced "tay," more or less), which looks funny enough in English, but combined with the word for cold, it sounds like a nickname... The Freddo. The Donald. Or maybe it could be the name of a theater or museum (the Walker) or a dance (the Frug).

No comments: