Shortly after moving to Portugal in 1993 I began to introduce the study of typography in all its forms to the curriculum at ESAD. One of the primary exercises I introduced – which has been continued by other lecturers since and has spread to other design faculties – was a simple but valuable visual research exercise which involved collecting images of lettering from the daily world we inhabit as a way of introducing students to the range, variety and omnipresence of the letter in everyday situations. The focus here was not simply mechanical type but all forms of lettering.
The brief asked that these examples be drawn from a multitude of sources that surround us. One of these was shop signage and the exercise required students to walk the streets of the city making a visual record. I once used many of these images accumulated from students in the 'Alfabeto' exhibition that took place in the Silo–NorteShopping in 2007.
After all this time I've finally got round to creating a small series of prints myself using my own photographs. These prints are currently on sale at the Portobello market on Saturdays and have been produced in two sizes – A3 and 50cm x 70cm. The series is entitled Letters from Porto (numbers 1–6). Digital reproductions are shown below together with details from the actual 50/70 prints.
Another print – a type composition constructed from hand-printed wood type – is also for sale at the market.