Vernacular Typography

It gets quite addictive noticing typography, logos and signs… Though I don’t think I’m alone – a new estate agents have opened in Tavistock with an eye catching design. Several people I know have noticed it too!


There are quite a lot of resources online in reference to vernacular typography. Here’s a definition I found useful. “A visual vernacular is a look native to, or associated with a particular era, culture or region…such as ‘very French’ , ‘street’ or ‘rural'” There is naturally a lot of discussion about how much big business signage has taken over our local spaces, and how little variation there is now. I have struggled to find signage that really fits the definition of vernacular. The following maybe does represent small businesses that are open to the public, and that have evolved over time, creating layers of different fonts, and ‘generations’ of signs all blended together.

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This is from a campsite in Westward Ho. I like the way the blue has faded unevenly. On the same site, there are signs blue tacked to the door. I think these could be written in any language, and we would all know they are pieces of information about the room you are about to enter!  No matter where you are, it seems likely that information is printed off the computer, not hand written

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And there are these elegant signs, I’m guessing they were put up at during improving and landscaping the site.

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Another campsite I know well, it’s Langstone Manor, within dartmoor national park. Here’s a photo of their old sign.

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They have a lovely new sign now


really like the colour too, and the welcome in different languages! The brown tourist signs are another thing you see a lot in Devon

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The other thing that remind me I’m not in a city, is the amount of country pubs.


I think you can tell by the signs they follow a pattern – simliar greens and reds, with gold serif lettering. Another kind of typography which goes back a long way, is carved into stone.


Waymarkers have been around for centuries.  There is so much granite on dartmoor, it makes sense to use it! You might be able to see that one of these dates from the 1970s, continuing a long tradition of working with stone.


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