by Kevin Rabida . October 16th, 2015
This is the motivation of Detroit-based graphic designer Jessica Krcmarik to digitize and preserve her neighborhood’s cultural identity through its vintage signage.
Through her font foundry, Gratiot and Riopelle, she started a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to digitize 10 unique fonts from the Detroit neighborhoods which will be available as pay-what-you-can downloads.
The hand-painted signage ranges from old laundromats and parking garages to beauty salons and real estate offices, all of which feature vintage typography. Sadly, their age is apparent through their fading and flaking appearances. They will inevitably be painted over.
The solution is to digitize them.
Jessica explains in her Kickstarter page “By creating a usable font based on the signs in a particular area, and making it available to small businesses in that area, the visual culture lives on even if the sign it’s based on is painted over or destroyed.”
As of press time, Jessica’s Kickstarter has met its goal of $5000 dollars with 8 days still remaining.
Designers have been largely supportive of Jessica’s campaign. In her defense, it is a way to preserve a part of Detroit’s culture and the end product is being offered for free.
Some people are not happy with Jessica’s venture however, calling it “a hobby.” A Reddit comment on the topic reads “She doesn’t need a Kickstarter to do this, the costs involved aren’t remotely what she claims for software/hardware. What a pathetic cash grab.”
So what do you think? Is it a hobby cash grab or worthwhile endeavor? Comment below!
Kevin is a reader first, a writer second, and a gamer somewhere in between. When not rooting for Tyrion Lannister for the Iron Throne, he's probably writing some morbid short story. He enjoys some surreal art, clever advertising campaigns, and a warm cup of coffee while reading Murakami.