June 2006 Archives
Last week I expressed my dismay with the decision of my adopted city of Lyon to provide outdoor advertising giant JCDecaux with apparent carte blanche to plaster the historic downtown area with ultra-modern sliding billboards, in exchange for installing and maintaining an extensive network of free bicycle stations. It was my frustration with this mushroom-like overnight proliferation of intrusive signage that prompted my interest in a recent book from Mark Batty Publisher that held out the promise of a grass-roots movement from those who have had their fill of the global trend to make our common urban spaces little more than an opportunity to bombard us with product pitches.
I don't have a violent aversion to marketing messages in public places. In fact, I’ve even been known to stop in my tracks to take in a particularly effective use of imagery or type, chuckle at a witty play on words or savor an effective branding treatment. But recently things have gotten out of hand here in Lyon to the point where my previously benign feelings have turned into a growing dislike for outdoor advertising. Strangely enough, bicycles are largely to blame.
It's been a while since I've updated my never-ending quest to seek out free fonts that won't make Giambattista Bodoni spin in his grave. This time I'll lead off with Die Gestalten, which I've mentioned in earlier installments. This Berlin-based design agency sells a range of products to the design community, including fonts. Not only that, but it provides a selection of free ones that changes regularly. Currently on offer is Doener Kebap Medium, Hard Case Striped, Rapido and the curious DrEye, shown above. Not for everyday use, admittedly, but employed sparingly in the right context I'd say it could make quite an impact. All four are available only in Mac PostScript format, so Windows users will need to convert them.