Can you introduce the concept of Public Lettering ?
By public lettering I simply mean lettering
outside and in public places. And I use the term lettering
very deliberately: most of it is not type. I started photographing examples
around about 1992 as background for a project that I was leading at
Cal Arts. Later, I bought a camera of my own and started photographing
things more regularly. Not systematically like a research project, it
was just a good way of filling in time when I was in different towns
or different countries and it grew from there.
Where does this idea come from ?
In many ways most of our ideas depend, academically at least, on the thoughts of the first people to write about it, Alan Bartram, Nicolete Gray and James Mosley. They plotted the histories of it and looked at the evolution of the English Letterforms. I think we were conscious of recording and extending what theyd already classified, but Id describe our interests as broader and perhaps more eclectic.
How have you selected the landmarks presented in the site ?
When planning the original walks, certain keys ones leap out - the Coliseum, National Gallery Sainsbury Wing and British Library Gates - from that it was a matter of joining them up. The route is circuitous to ensure an interesting balance of things to see, the kinds of streets are also important as they show different aspects of Londons history and development, that helps when leading the walk in person.
What are your favourite ones ?
St Martins Schools, the staircase of the National Gallerys
Sainsbury Wing and the gates to the British Library.
Do you think this kind of project can only be done in London ? Do you have any plan to replicate the idea in another city?
It could be done in many cities. Perhaps the most obvious would be Rome where Michael Tyman, Paul Stiff and others from University of Reading have led guided trips for their students for many years. But there are many cities which would be good candidates of a different nature: Bath in England; Edinburgh in Scotland; Barcelona in Spain; Porto in Portugal are four which come to mind immediately, but there are things to see and talk about everywhere.