This is a beautifully designed book by Switch Media. Like all good coffee table books you can dip into it at any time to admire some of the photographs. It’s also more proof that so often the simple ideas are the best. It is, after all, just photographs of lettering around the streets of Liverpool but well presented first of all on a simple clean website and now in this heavyweight book it’s real eye candy.
Of course, many of the old signs are beautifully crafted ornate pieces, then there was a period when all print looked as if it had come from the same typewriter but all that changed with the digital era and we are so much more typography-aware these days. It is also fun to try and recognise the locations of the signs before reading the brief description. There are interviews with some of the photographers too.
The new 204 page hardback, Letterpool: Urban Art and Architecture in Liverpool, is the culmination of Switch Media’s Letterpool project – which celebrates great Liverpool signs, etchings and street art.
Letterpool began life as a city-wide community art project with Switch Media urging keen photographers to snap the best examples of Liverpool typography from funky and artistic to commercial and industrial.
The response was overwhelming and resulted in Letterpool, winning a Gold award in the Fresh Creative Awards 2009 for best use of typography.
Aaron Bimpson, Switch Media commercial director, said there was real demand for a hard-back book that encompassed the best images of Liverpool’s creative language.
This demand resulted in Switch Media spending the last six months creating a chunky coffee-table book and setting up their own publishing house Switch Media Press to get it printed.
Aaron said: “After months of hard work we are very proud to be launching our first book Letterpool.
“Letterpool celebrates the typography and architecture of Liverpool through the names, signs, signals and street art that form the visual fabric of our city. It explores the city’s colourful heritage and evolving cityscape through the words that give us language, meaning and identity.
“This collection features hundreds of shots from around the city from both professional and amateur photographers. “
Fiona Shaw is a freelance publisher and director of Liverpool-based publishing company Capsica.
Her previous books include: Go Superlambananas: the book, the Mersey Minis series and Paul Heathcote’s Heathcotes at Home.
Fiona has been working alongside the Switch Media team to compile and publish Letterpool: Urban Art and Architecture in Liverpool.
She said: “Letterpool has been an absolute pleasure to work on.
“The photography’s stunning, the design is clean and elegant and the idea behind it – of discovering Liverpool’s typographic heritage – has clearly captured the imagination.
Letterpool: Urban Art and Architecture in Liverpool is now on sale at W H Smiths, Waterstones, News from Nowhere, Utility, TATE Liverpool and FACT for £14.99.