Friday, July 13, 2012

Mixed Messages

I photographed this message on a gas pump near Michigan City, Indiana a few weeks ago. So robotic, yet so warm and welcoming. Come Inside for Hot Dogs. Who can say no to that? (I guess I can. I did.)

A young man who might have been called a soda jerk sixty years ago walked from the convenient store out to where I was pumping my gas. Why, he wanted to know, was I was taking pictures of the gas pumps? I suppressed the desire to say I was fixin' to blow him and his Burger King and his Super fuckin' Lotto tickets all to smithereens, but had to snap a few photographs prior to the deed.

Instead I explained: "You don't understand. I'm a graphic designer. I'm documenting this typeface."(Alternatively, "There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side...")

The pump-type actually is sort of interesting. What would you do if you needed an upper/lower alphabet sans descenders? I remember looking at early cell phones that used the same approach, if not the very same face, and thinking much the same thought.

In–I guess–1997? Sigh.

My colleagues who really are graphic designers are by now snorting out their lemonade. Seriously: I was under duress, people.

A second petroleum distribution official emerged after the first retreated. She might have been old enough to drink legally. I delivered the same story. She made it very clear that people are not permitted to take pictures of their equipment. I nodded ruefully, then drove off lickety-split, before The Authorities could be called in. 

Harrowing tales of outdoor photography.

But then again: Aw, never mind! Come Inside for Hot Dogs!

Meanwhile: Chili cheese fries all around if anyone can shed light on the typeface.


Luis Sopelana said...

"In–I guess–1997?"

If not earlier. I recall the same typeface in my old Casio scientific calculator from 1991.

Luis Sopelana said...

Now check THIS out: japanese katakana characters n the same dot matrix resolution:

(Found while trying to get earlier uses of that lowercase type.)

DB Dowd said...

Luis, thanks for the note! I have just composed another post in response. Linked to your vimeo page...