Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reversal of fortune

We missed the exhibition but we’ve just read the catalogue of Objectspace’s Printing types: New Zealand type design since 1870. One of the typefaces highlighted was Luke Wood’s McCahon face. Wood has written a very entertaining account of the font’s life and times up to its recent use by Charlie’s for its fruit juice packaging. The illustration for Wood’s article was very familiar. Based on a photograph in Wystan Curnow’s essay in the Colin McCahon catalogue I will need words, it is a Wood’s McCahon type version of a get-the-hell-off-my-property sign.

We know this sign well. Back in the 1980s on the way to Wanganui we removed it from a farm gate (sorry) and slung it in the back of our car as a great piece of typographic art. Before liberating the sign we took a photograph, which was just as well as our car and the sign were stolen (that’ll teach us) a couple of weeks later. That was the photograph used for the I will need words catalogue with one major difference. It was decided the words would look better white against black (more like the fruit and vege signs McCahon favoured) and so the neg was reversed.

Now, all these years later, 26 of them to be exact, the script is returned to its black on white origins. Thanks Luke.

Images: Top, Wood’s typeface on Charlie’s OJ. Bottom, the Trespass sign in Wood’s McCahon typeface. Generously Objectspace have made the Printing Types catalogue available on pdf. You can get it here.