One of the first Type Battles in 2006 was titled "Found Type" and started with the simple request to design seven characters based on a photograph of found lettering. I wandered around the block from the (then) Punchcut offices on Grant Avenue and found some letters inlaid in stone. Three years later I'm releasing the resulting font as Grant Avenue. While is still bears the mark of those first characters, the face is more broadly influenced by the stone engravings from many buildings in the area. Since much of the city was rebuilt very quickly after the 1906 earthquake and fire, much of the architectural lettering in SF has a very distinct style.
Check out the finished http://Grant Avenue at Veer.
I'm also releasing a second family called http://Apertura, a warm, slightly humanized geometric. The idea for this family was sparked by a device interface where the visual design was very round and inviting, but the type used was cold and mechanical.