Signs and the fonts they are composed of are a vital part of the urban fabric indicating places to go and things to do, but the typography can also express the history of an area.
Dalston-based graphic designer and font researcher Sarah Hyndman uses local typographical clues to unlock pieces of Dalston's social and cultural history, from its industrial Victorian past to its current status as a vibrant East London hub. Her Type Safari takes in not only the architecture of local landmarks such as the Art Deco Rio Cinema, but also uncovers the underlying history, such as the departed grandeur of Dalston's former department store, which has loaned its name to a popular night club, or the former Victorian pie and mash shop which is now a Chinese restaurant.
The tour is also a crash course in typography so you will quickly learn how type evolved, as well as challenging ideas about how we can be influenced by different signs. Sarah's enthusiasm and knowledge are infectious, and whether you are a seasoned fontophile or a newcomer to the world of typography, the stories and personalities that she brings to life are enthralling.
Starting near Dalston Junction, the tour winds its way up Kingsland Road, visiting several well-known (and occasionally infamous) locales, but also uncovering many new finds along the way, such as faded ghost signs and a recently-uncovered Victorian pub sign in glass and gilt. It finishes up in the Type Tasting studio where participants have the chance to try their hand at various experiments in typographical psychology and even have their font fortune told.
The next Dalston Type Safaris will take place on 9 and 26 July, then again on 16 August. Check the Type Tasting website. Tickets: £13. The tour takes 1.5-2 hours (comfortable footwear recommended). Londonist attended this walk on a complimentary ticket.