The Culture Log | Now Hear This

Podcasts have become a staple part of my week, they provide such a valuable source of knowledge and inspiration. There is so much incredible content out there so thought I would shout out a few favourites:

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Creative Rebels is a series of inspiring interviews with creative people who have rebelled against the 9-5 (…And advice on how you can too). Hosted by David Speed and Adam Brazier, co-founders of Graffiti Life and Parlour Tattoo.

itunes/Creative Rebels

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Small Spark Theory: a marginal gains approach to new business and marketing, by Lucy Mann.
Gunpowder’s Lucy Mann has worked in agency new business for over 25 years, Small Spark Theory® explores the small changes we can make to our sales and marketing process to achieve better new business results. With contributions from a range of experts, each episode examines a single element of the process in detail, providing manageable tips for improvement.



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Design Matters with Debbie Millman is one of the world’s very first podcasts. Broadcasting independently for over 13 years, the show is about how incredibly creative people design the arc of their lives.


The Culture Log | Signs of NYC

Introducing The Culture Log... A stream of consciousness featuring anything and everything that inspires our thinking. First up, sign spotting in NYC...

From ‘Colossal’ murals in Brooklyn to the oversized digital displays of Times Square, the kitsch of Coney Island and a very special vintage neon in the East Village, it’s a hive of inspiration for the sign spotter, we captured signs of all shapes and sizes across the five boroughs. Here’s a few of our favourites... 


1071 5th Avenue

Frank Lloyd Wright's landmark building is a fitting way to start and an absolute must visit. Opened in 1959 it became one of the most celebrated and controversial buildings in modern architecture, its Art Deco ‘one of a kind’ architectural signage is synonymous with the museum's identity, but remarkably it wasn’t until the 90s that its logo, designed by Vignelli Associates, directly referenced it’s iconic signage. Since then it has gone on to underpin most aspects of the Guggenheim's visual branding.


2 East 91st Street (A 2 minute walk from The Guggenhiem)

As part of a three year renovation in 2014, Pentagram developed a new identity including a vibrant and contemporary signage and environmental graphics scheme for the museum. The 3-dimensional signage at the entrances, accentuated by bright orange returns, create a bold, impactful statement balancing well against the extremely ornate Andrew Carnegie Mansion.

Photo credit - James & Karla Murray

Photo credit - James & Karla Murray


East Village on 2nd Avenue at 6th Street

Block was established in 1885 and its iconic neon sign is said to date back to 1945. The orange and pink neon is best viewed in the shorter days of the winter months as it is turned off each night at 7pm. This has to be our favourite sign of the trip; the classic neon letterforms are incredible, they have stood the test of time and then some, hopefully this much loved family run pharmacy along with its neon signs will be around for many years to come.

We weren't around to capture it at night but fortunately our friends James & Karla Murray were kind enough to allow the use of their incredible night time shot. James and Karla are New York based professional photographers and authors. They have been capturing impeccably accurate photographs of New York City since the 90s and have released a number of critically acclaimed books including Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New YorkNew York NightsStore Front II- A History Preserved and Broken Windows-Graffiti NYC. For more check out their website and you should also follow their brilliant instagram account @jamesandkarla

McSorleys Old Ale House

East Village, 15 East 7th Street

McSorley's Old Ale House is one of the oldest bars in Manhattan. Established in 1854, the bar still serves its signature ale and sits in the same location as it did from the beginning. Amongst its vintage hand painted signage one of their mottos is ‘We were here before you were born.' If you decide to pop in for a drink (and you absolutely should) ordering is easy, they sell two drinks, light or dark ale.


Nathan’s Famous
1310 Surf Avenue, Coney Island

The original Nathan's restaurant has stood at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, Brooklyn since it started out as nickel hot dog stand in 1916. The history of the site is reflected by the layer upon layer of branding that adorn the building, from neon to hand painted it’s got the lot (and the hotdogs are decent).

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Corner of West Broadway and Reade Street, Tribeca

Apparently this giant ghost sign is an old advert for painted outdoor advertising, an ad for ads. Its one of the most decorative and well preserved I have seen. New York is a hot bed for spotting these old faded adverts and as good a reason as the incredible architecture for you to cast your eyes up above street level whilst walking through the city.


Radio City Music Hall
1260 6th Avenue

One of the most instantly recognisable building frontages epitomising the bright lights of New York City. This Art Deco facade is notable for the marquee neon sign that wraps around the corner of 6th Avenue and 50th Street, as well as the incredible, seven-story-high signs on the north and south ends.


Trinity Place, Lower Manhattan

The American Stock Exchange Building, formerly known as the New York Curb Exchange Building and before that home of the New York Curb Market, is the former headquarters of the American Stock Exchange. Built in 1921, the building complete with its original sign permanently incised into the stone facade, represents a link to the historical practices of stock trading outside the strictures of the New York Stock Exchange, which took place outside ("on the curb") prior to the construction of this building. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978.



London Design Festival 2018

LDF is back this week and there is plenty for typography, lettering and sign fans to get stuck into. Here's what's on our to do list:

South East Makers Club 2018
First up we are extremely proud to be a partner and support this year’s South East Makers Club as part of London Design Festival. SEMC18 is a celebration of South East London's creative talent, and takes place at Deptford Market Yard from 14th - 16th September. The line up includes exhibitions, installations and workshops as well as a makers market and the infamous designer pub quiz, for details and the full line up follow the link

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London’s Other Side
Bankside is a district that has experienced constant reinvention. For centuries it welcomed those with a rebellious and independent spirit. Better Bankside, in collaboration with NB Studio, is flying 60 flags created by some of Bankside’s and London’s leading artists and designers to celebrate its independent state. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the flags hung in Jubilee Place at Borough Market for LDF, before they are proudly flown throughout the area. After the Festival, one set of flags will be auctioned to raise money for Better Bankside’s three community partners who do great work in the local area.

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Better Letters
Back at the London Design Festival for a fourth year in a row, Better Letters is bringing free screenings and two ticketed signwriting workshops to the Bankside Design District. Get inspired by the stories of three retired signwriters at a triple bill screening, and then get your hands dirty with a beginner’s workshop in Borough Market. For ticket information and timings see link below.

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Type Tasting
Type Tasting is back in Bankside with a series of exciting and immersive events that break the rules of traditional wine and gin tastings as well as a pop up typography lab. For more information follow the link below.

Type Tasting

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Alphabet by Kellenberger-White
Known for their playful approach to typefaces, Kellenberger–White has designed a new series of alphabet chairs as a Landmark Project at Broadgate, supported by Festival Headline Partner British Land.

Hand painted signage for World of Interiors

We are very proud to share a project we have recently completed for World of Interiors magazine, to design and produce hand painted fairground style signage for a photoshoot featured in the May issue, out now!

The shoot was for a kitchen and bathroom feature with the idea being to create a traditional coconut shy complete with authentic hand painted signage. Working with their in house team, we designed and colour tested to ensure it all scaled correctly with the subheading editorial content and help bring to life the creative vision of the set. It was a lot of fun to work on and the World of Interiors team really are a lovely bunch!

Published by Condé Nast, The World of Interiors is one of the foremost design and decoration titles in the world.


The Culture Log | Neon Museum

For most, the appeal of Vegas lies in the glitz, glamour and gambling. But the bright lights of Sin City have a different, quite literal meaning to a sign geek. 

Signs in Las Vegas are epic. The rule tends to be the bigger, and brasher, the better. There's no better place to experience this than at the Neon Museum. Just north of The Strip, a patch of Nevada desert has been transformed into a neon boneyard, home to hundreds of iconic Las Vegas signs. The collection chronicles changes in trends in sign design and technology from the 1930s to the present day. 

We were lucky enough to be taken on a tour with an incredibly knowledgable guide. Book well in advance, turns out there are lots of sign geeks in the world, tickets sell out weeks in advance. 

After your visit, stop off in downtown for a taste of old Vegas.

London Design Festival 2017


LDF17 is just around the corner and there is plenty for typography, lettering and sign fans to get stuck into. Here's what's on our to do list:



Better Letters celebrate hand-crafted lettering from around the world and they'll be hosting three fantastic signwriting workshops at Borough Market and The Art Academy.

Mike Meyer Intensive Hand Lettering Workshop
16 & 17 September, 10am - 5pm
Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL

This is an intensive day filled with paint, brushes, lettering and laughs. You will hone your Gothic (Block), Casual and Script letter forms through a hands-on process of practice, personal critique and expert guidance from Sign Painters very own Mike Meyer.

Create Your Own Lettering with Martina Flor
23 & 24 September, 10am - 5pm
The Art Academy, 165A Borough High Street, Mermaid Court, SE1 1HR

Engage with the process of drawing and refining a piece of your own custom lettering. Across the day you will be introduced to a variety of effective techniques to create lettering from scratch, under the guidance of Berlin-based letterer and author, Martina Flor.

Gold and Glass Workshop
23 & 24 September, 10am - 5pm
The Art Academy, 165A Borough High Street, Mermaid Court, SE1 1HR

Learn the basic techniques required to work with gold leaf for lettering and sign work. Working on flat panels, and in reverse on glass, you’ll be guided through the steps required to achieve a variety of different finishes.


Saturday 16 – Sunday 24 September
Hilton London Bankside, 2-8 Great Suffolk Street, SE1 0UG

This free lettering-themed installation features 27 original signwritten works glowing within a modern curiosity cabinet in the Hilton London Bankside lobby. Curated and created by the team at Better Letters, you are invited to cruise the peep holes and find your favourite glowing letter…


Wednesday 20 September, 7pm - 9pm
Devonshire House, 68 Union Street, SE1 1TD

Specialist speakers from a range of disciplines in typography and design will debate questions around the transitory nature of lettering and the interconnectedness of various lettering, calligraphic and type traditions. The panel includes Rob Saunders (Letterform Archive), Paul Antonio (Master Calligrapher), Sam Roberts (Better Letters and Ghost Signs) and will be chaired by Donald Hyslop (Tate Modern).


Wednesday 20 – Sunday 24 September
Devonshire House, 68 Union Street, SE1 1TD

A first for the UK, San Francisco’s Letterform Archive will pop up at Flat Iron Square in Bankside. The exhibition highlights the work designers produce on the way to final products utilising the breadth of the Letterform Archive collection. Includes the work of W.A. Dwiggins, Emigre Inc, Eric Gill, Philip Grushkin, Edward Johnston, Aaron Marcus, Herbert Matter, Piet Zwart and others. Join founder and curator Rob Saunders and librarian Amelia Grounds for a walkthrough of the exhibition. You’ll learn about analog production and get an up close look at the pieces.

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16 & 17 September
Design Studio, Sackler Centre for arts education, Victoria and Albert Museum

Pick a typeface then customise it to reflect your personality and create your own Font Selfie. Add this to the display, which will grow throughout the weekend to create an exciting collection of typographic self-portraits.

At 2pm each day, join author and Type Tasting founder Sarah Hyndman for a short talk about her research into typeface personalities.

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Saturday 16  – Sunday 24 September
Various Locations on Borough High Street

Literary legends of Bankside will come alive through a series of installations by master calligrapher Paul Antonio. Historic Borough High Street, one of London’s oldest thoroughfares, was walked by Chaucer, Dickens and Shakespeare. Quotes will be inscribed on windows in the letterforms of the period.

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Saturday 16  – Sunday 24 September, 10am - 5pm
dn&co, 3 Tyers Gate,

Brand and design agency dn&co will be celebrating the work of iconic 20th century German graphic designer Otl Aicher at its gallery Ground Floor Space in Bermondsey as part of the London Design Festival.

Forty years after it was created, the exhibition and limited edition book revisits how Aicher took what was expected of the small tourist town of Isny im Allgäu in Southern Germany, and defied it with a kit of 128 pictograms – in a way that was miles ahead of its time. The collection of rare prints will be the most comprehensive collection of Aicher’s Isny work to be seen in the UK.

A new adventure



The past year has been pretty busy, I moved house, got married, and perhaps the most daunting yet exciting of all, I launched a business. I've always had an ambition to run my own company since working for the family business whilst at university. The entrepreneurial spirit must run in the family.

After 17 years in the signage industry working across a range of different positions, project managing major wayfinding and environmental branding schemes, delivering global multi-site roll outs and designing bespoke signage, the time was right.

It's not just a job, I'm passionate about this industry; the craft, the tradition, the creativity, the engineering, the fact the final product is so visual, so subjective, so incredibly important, and in some cases incredibly permanent. I am a self professed sign geek and my travels always feature an element of sign spotting (I can thoroughly recommend a few if you ever get the opportunity -  the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas, the Letterform Archive in San Francisco, the Buchstauben Museum in Berlin, Ghostsigns walking tours in London or just wandering cities and looking up at signage and lettering in the built environment for inspiration.)

Now I'll be driving all of this passion and inspiration, my influences, everything I've learnt, my creativity and my practical experience into my own company.

I am very proud to introduce THIS WAY, a brand new signage consultancy. If any of your projects involve signage, we'd love to talk to you.