a font took my job

(Well, not recently…)

My first job was working the grill at Coney Island with my friend Gretchen. We got covered in grease and bleach while all our other friends goofed off as parking attendants, reading books and getting tan.

I’m not bitter. We ate better and made tips.

My second job was at Kroger, renting out VHS tapes and, once a week, making signs for endcaps and displays.

I was sent to a workshop to learn the “Kroger way” of writing these signs.

It was actually a hoot, wandering around the store with a clipboard, taking “orders” from department managers. Then I’d fill up the back room with the smell of chisel tip Marks-a-Lot markers.

I was the in-house design department. Painting the front windows once (disaster) and I also made a t-shirt (my first).

I held this gig for a good long time, but when my senior year of high school came around, it was time to turn in my badge and focus on my studies (senioritis).

Today I was shopping (the stomach bug has passed), stocking up on all the pop-tarts my brother keeps eating, and I noticed the signs are now computer output. Printed with a perfect incarnation of the Kroger sign font.

I’d say this is a terrible sign of technology taking over creative gigs, but I don’t think so. The proliferation of blogs and digital photography, self-publishing for goods like t-shirts, books, pins, and even distributing video, it’s a great time to be expressive.

5 responses to “a font took my job”

  1. Tom Avatar

    Yes it is, and digital technology allows us to this with greater and greater ease; but I still think a hand-painted sign in a grocery shop makes the place seem much more friendly and less cloned. I guess what I’m trying to say is there’s a time and a place for both kinds of creativity – in this instance I prefer the old kind.

  2. chris Avatar

    You have a good point there Tom, and I agree.
    Related link: The Hand-Lettering pool on Flickr

  3. Bob Avatar

    Ever been to Unabridged Books in Chicago? The “staff picks” are handwritten on cards and taped to the shelf. Now that’s marketing with hand-lettering!

  4. JAFO Avatar

    I had the same job, only at Safeway where I was hired as a bagger, but conscripted to do the signs as well, since I had nice writing and artistic skills. They were too cheap to send me to a fancy shmancy school like you though, so I was “encouraged” to make the signs on my own time (i.e. at home, unpaid, of course). I probably have dain bramage from those Marks-a-Lot markers. To this day, I can’t stand the smell of them.

  5. Zachariah O'Hora Avatar
    Zachariah O’Hora

    That is Sooo weird that Ohio has a Coney Island Park…..I mean Coney Island is weird enough. But, to have an imitation one is even stranger.
    …kind of like Little Havana in Miami…its architecture is an imitation of Havana in the 50’s and Havana in the 50’s was built as an imitation of Vegas.
    What happens when people have nostalgia for an imitiation of an imitation? Is it still nostalgia? Or something else?