The Face of San Francisco?

Jared Benson's picture

If H&FJ Gotham represents New York, what font is quintessentially San Francisco? Where do you look? Coit Tower? Wells Fargo? Trolleys? Street names stamped into cement?

What attempts have been made to capture the face of San Francisco? Perhaps this was Susan Kare's dilemma in designing San Francisco that shipped on the early Mac. How else to capture the Mission, Presidio, Downtown, North Beach, the Castro?

Down10's picture

I'm not aware of one. Unlike New York, San Francisco is not quite as type-heavy a town.

I do commonly associate W. A. Dwiggins' faces Metro and Electra with SF, as they were both used as headline type for the San Francisco Chronicle (albeit with adjustments to the letter forms to suit newsprint).

More common in usage, though, is SF's history of being erected in the Gold-rush Victorian era, so it naturally gets associated with tuscan ("western") type, and all the gaudiness that implies. For instance, the 49ers logo set in Quentin.

cuttlefish's picture

This is a very good question worthy of further research. While Tuscan decorative types like Quentin certainly reflect an aspect of the city's history, it is far from anything current.

I would have to agree with the call on Metro being a likely candidate, but again I think it only captures a part of the city's story. Perhaps there is some need for a new typeface, an amalgam of the best of San Francisco's signage much like how Gotham was inspired by the city of New York.

bashibozuk's picture

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FrankSmith's picture

Hippy Chick
Keep on Truckin
Crazy Harold

riccard0's picture

Susan Kare’s dilemma in designing San Francisco
Actually, the name was given to an already existing typeface:

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