Cultural Stories Revealed through Typography



ISBN: 9780500500262 Category:

Stephen Banham


Type and signage surround us. They are part of our daily lives and the history of whichever city we happen to live in. Whether old or new, each sign has a story to tell. In Characters, Stephen Banham has meticulously researched the signage and typography of a city to present an exuberant collection of quirky, poignant and often funny stories. They range from how a callout to mend a burnt fuse on a neon sign led to the discovery of over 100 musical instruments hidden away in a train station tower for 50 years to the sign that had to be removed for eliciting illegal gambling.

From architecture and advertising to cultural history and much more, Characters is a book that will appeal to historians, designers and typophiles alike. Featuring a treasure trove of long-overlooked examples, Banham reveals how typography is a rich form of cultural expression, redefining the way we look at our surroundings one letter at a time. You will never walk down the street in the same way again.

Additional information

Weight 1229 g
Dimensions 23.8 x 23.6 cm
Publisher name Thames & Hudson Australia Pty Ltd
Publication date 1 September 2011
Number of pages 272
Format Hardback
Dimensions 23.8 x 23.6 cm
Weight 1229 g


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Called a 'typographic evangelist' by UK design journal Eye, Stephen Banham's work has been covered in almost every type annual and design magazine. He is also the founder of Letterbox, a typographic studio based in Melbourne and has lectured in typography at RMIT since 1991. One of his most high-profile campaigns in bringing typography into the public eye was the Death to Helvetica debate in the early 2000s. Since then, he has run a series of forums on the social and cultural importance of letter forms.