Banham focuses entirely on Melbourne and the concentration on a narrow national subject might be assumed to limit the book’s appeal, though he keeps his options open with a general-sounding title. That’s a wise decision because Characters has just as much to say to someone living in Memphis, Manchester or Madrid. Its thick layering of examples and deep sense of history and place are its point. Banham’s attentive readings demonstrate a procedure for noticing and investigating our urban typographic fabric that can be applied to cities everywhere, and rather than assemble a broad array of superficially appealing locations, it’s the specificity of his undertaking that serves to make his case. To know a city’s signs as well as Banham knows Melbourne’s you probably need to live there.
I have noticed a specific street here in Phoenix where ultra modern and 50ish typography are living side by side. Nearly two miles of fun diversity.
Hmmm... sounds like a photography project.