31 July 2009

Letters from a Small Town: Letter A

Here in the Town of Kentville (TOK), when it comes to wayfinding and signage, we’ve got the usual dog’s breakfast of letters hanging around on our shops, posts and fences. Being somewhat fond of letters, I’ve started to document the local alphabet – the good and the bad – and am assembling them under the general title Letters from a Small Town. I’ll post some of the images here on the Gaspereau Press blog from time to time.

Before computers and vinyl cutters, stencils were a cheap, utilitarian way for the average citizen to make a pre-fab letter. The rough texture and deep colour of these plywood Town of Kentville signs greet me when I bike through the parking lot by Town Hall.

Even the stencil isn't idiot proof, as this sign with its backward Ns proves. If you zoom in at the bottom of the sign, you can see some renegade hand lettering which makes reference to the 'LIKER STOR'.

Like the LIKER STOR letters, most of my favorite local letterforms are one-off originals, made on the spot specifically for the function and context they serve. This sign hangs on the back of the local curling club, visible from the old railway line which is now a public walking trail. Why is it around the back? Was it replaced by a more 'sophisticated' modern sign with pre-fab letters? I'll have to walk around the building and find out next time I ride past on my bike.

This post was brought to you by the letter A.

– AS

1 comment:

Al Cooper said...


I really like the signage! These things tell us a lot about small towns. Last night a group of late night chalk people wrote calligraphy on the main street of Alma. Most of it, for obvious reasons, is unprintable here. The chalk they used was white and pink, and made a sort of elegant design on the black pavement.

Allan C