March 2011

Typography for the People: Hand-Painted Signs from Around the World

HOW Books - An Imprint of F+W Media, Inc.

  • 4700 East Galbraith Road
  • Cincinnati , OH


abc Typography for the People xyz first grabs the attention with its bright cover art - a collage of signs done by hand in every color and style of type on a bright red background. The inside of the book is mostly photos of all kinds of hand-made signs in every possible configuration from many different countries.

In the first pages of the book, Daniel Bellon tells us what the book is “not.” He also tells us what the book “is.” The book is not “about what I call ‘amateur photographers.’ These are people who may be classically trained designers but know a lot about typography, often without being aware of it.” He goes on to say the book is “a celebration of typography and highlights the beauty of typography in its truest form - not as a profession but as a necessity of everyday life.”

abc Typography for the People xyz is a collection of images put together by brothers Daniel and Klaus over an eighteen-year period. They ventured into some pretty rough areas of cities all over the world, from Hong Kong to Caracas, risking life and limb to get the book finished. Fortunately for us, the images are truly inspirational, a departure from the sleek and stylized world of magazine and newspaper typography and a refreshing foray into the creativity of the average person.

A few examples of categories covered include:

  • Arrows and directional signage
  • Advertising and business signage
  • Prices, phone numbers, and other numeric symbols
  • Pay attention (someone is trying to tell you something) or F.Y.I.

abc Typography for the People xyz is a fun and useful departure from the norm. It drives home the point that Daniel and Klaus Bellon make which is that typography really is for the people; it doesn't belong to anyone. So, enjoy.

Reviewer: Cynthia Aaron, FIDM Library Staff Member