I am going to promote the project by writing an article for the local paper. I’ve been given 400 words, aimed at a non-designer audience. Here we go.
The Heart of Awesomestow. Corner shop signs. Grocery prices. What do these have in common? They are all examples of lettering in Walthamstow, and lettering is meaningful because it forms part of our social backdrop.
Although we might not realise, lettering is one of the first things we learn at school. When we pick up a pencil to form the lines of a capital T’s, the circles of O’s and the triangles of an M, we are engaging with the design of letters, or, in ‘design speak’, typography. We learn to leave a little space between letters, and more space between words, to write what we want to say. It doesn’t matter which language we first learn to read and write; the principle of moving a pencil across a surface to create a mark is universal. As we grow, our writing gets steadier, and we progress from focussing on how we form the letters to how we can communicate with those around us.
We retain the skills to create letters and forget we learnt them, and yet, how words are displayed affect what we feel about people, places and things. Each piece of lettering in Walthamstow tells us a story of the person who wrote (or designed) it and the community around them, whether we realise it or not. Combining them gives us our collective history of an innovative and welcoming area that thrives when we celebrate our community.
I am an MA Graphic Design student, and I want to engage people in the Walthamstow community in a conversation about the lettering we see in the area and how it creates a sense of place. It doesn’t matter whether you are interested in lettering or if you have never thought about it before; I’d like to hear from as many people as possible.
I have created workshops for you to participate in, including a type treasure hunt, letter drawing, and type walks around E17 and am excited to share them with you at www.stoweframework.co.uk. Visit the website to download the activity sheets and contribute to the study. The activities are all free, aimed at those aged 18 years and over, and can be done individually or in Covid-19 compliant small groups.
I posted it on the ideas wall and Tony gave me some feedback: