Thursday, 18 February 2016

GERrY's NOSH, Southend-on-Sea



In 1965, Studio Vista: London published the wonderful paperback 'Signs in Action' as part of their ongoing 'Introductory Handbooks to Art and Design' series. These books are still instantly recognisable on the bookshelf because of the near-square 16 x 20 cms shape, and they look the part, totally capturing the fresh and vibrant spirit of typography, pop art and graphics during the 'sixties'.

In order to convey the language and form of signs, author James Sutton enlisted the help of several photographers including the graphic designer Herbert Spencer to snap examples of signs that "put the literal message across as directly as possible...or are illegible, yet attractive and full of expression".

There are so many lovely images contained within the 96 pages. I've plumped for three of Spencer's photos as a teaser to urge anyone interested in this kind of thing to track down a second-hand copy of the original book...

The original caption reads: A SOPHISTICATED POP SIGN FROM SOUTHEND 

Commercial Road, London

Throughout the book there are super examples of misspelt words that were either hand written or actually printed on signs. I 'definitely' had to present this one snapped in E1, as I well remember this petrol station...

...and there's the bizarre graphic on the round panel above the oddly-shaped hexagonal sign for Vehicle Entry in Deepfield Road. I've owned this book for over 30 years now, and I've never forgotten this image. 
Sign at Bracknell



Back to GERrY'S NOSH. there's a real tip of the hat to the pop artist Peter Blake by the signmaker. But for me it's even better than Blake's so-called 'real' art because it's not created to be hanging in an art gallery. It's a greasy, knowing, irreverent nod to Pop Art made to standout from the crowd on a congested seafront

I'm sure that Gerry's Hot Dogs, Burgers and "DOUGH-NUTS" are still well remembered by Southenders to this very day...

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