Antony Harrington from OPX is a designer who has always had a huge interest in typography, as a 7 year old he would make images using his father’s Univers 57 Letraset and when he was older would use his mother’s typewriter running the ribbon dry, however he makes a “confession” that he is not a type designer.  However, none can deny his love for typography. He moved from print to web 15 years ago and he is optimistic and enthusiastic about the future of typography on the web, its advancements especially concerning CSS but also the fact that clients are beginning to appreciate that typography even on the web can enhance their brand message.

He rather excitedly gives a history of typography and London. In the past I have done some research into the influence historic and political issues have in the world of typography and so I was excited to see Antony bring this to life in a London-centric context. I wouldn’t try to re-tell it all but there were some very interesting key players including the Romans, the Vikings, Geoffrey Chaucer, the Caslon family and Sir John Soane. Some significant social influences were the London Underground, the Second World War, the optimism of the 60s and the New York graffiti scene in the 80s.

Photo: Gerhard Kassner

And so it is London’s steep typographic history, Antony’s love of type and a sign of our times which has led him to develop the website and app called London Typographica due to be launched soon. The idea of the project is to map typography around the city in real time, either because it is old and in danger of being replaced, because it is graffiti and is in danger of being painted over, or simply because it looks good. It is an exciting project but can only work if we all take part, the idea is to upload your photos which are then added to a map of the city, multiple images can be uploaded of the same place and this allows for the documentation of that piece of typography over time to see if it changes or even disappears! It launches soon so get snapping!!

Text: Lynsey Power, Graphic BirdWatching