E.t. phone hobo

Isaac's picture

just thought i'd share the little nugget i saw today in the phone book. and rainbow colors even!

phone hobo

trae's picture


And here I thought it was only the local shoppers / classified papers still actively using Hobo these days... and those ad placemats, too.... Little League t-shirts...

If it's good enough for the phone company, tho, well then by God...

John Hudson's picture

Note that this is the content listing for the community pages. That word community is surely the key to the choice of typeface. This is a perfect use of Hobo, a typeface that in my idiosyncratic classification scheme is categorised as ersatz vernacular.

Isaac's picture

i also thought it was interesting that it
was the community section. is hobo really
the perfect font to bridge the gap between
"zip codes" and "elected officials"? (perhaps
the name fits for elected officials. i've
never heard of a font called dirty crook,
so...) i'm very curious about your reasoning.

capthaddock's picture

Ersatz vernacular. Excellent!!!

Isaac's picture

here are some more excerpts to study.
hobo appears to be the unifying element,
although used somewhat inconsistantly.
it's used for every tab, some subheads,
some headlines, etc.



cheshiredave's picture

When I was gearing up to do "Behind the Typeface," Hobo was originally the star, before Cooper Black stole the show. I was surprised to learn how old a typeface Hobo was. It's been completely disconnected from its Nouveau roots. It could be such a worthwhile face, if used better.

Isaac's picture

i was surprised too. 1910. whoa. i was just a kid then.
but aside from this being an obnoxious use of hobo
(redundant maybe, but...), i was curious about why
the designer used it.

john hudson said: That word community is surely the
key to the choice of typeface. This is a perfect use of Hobo

but why? what kind of community can this be?
not a pressing issue, i know, but it's something i'm curious about.
a "psychology of type" kind of thing.

John Hudson's picture

but why? what kind of community can this be?

I think it is the idea that 'community' is something made by people, not for people by, say, government agencies. You want people to think that 'Parks and Recreation' are something that belongs to them, rather than something that has been planned for them by a Park's Board and a civic bureaucracy. So you use a typeface that looks vernacular, like something someone might have written by hand on the side of a lemonade stand. So you think 'Ah, old fashioned lemonade' not 'I wonder if those kids have a license to sell lemonade, and are they collecting sales tax?'

trae's picture

Behind the Typeface! I would be so excited...

It's growing on me... at first I was thinking (especially after the "what kind of community can this be" question), that maybe Hobo felt kind of patronizing...you know, too "just folks..."

after all, the idea here isn't to sell something but to serve another function... but I must ask myself, even if that's so, does it have to be straight-laced and sans-serify boring?

but, god help me, it's kind of growing on me... must-stop-looking-at-it... must... resist... don't want to go to work and scream "Hobo! Hobo for everything!"

matteson's picture

Curse you Isaac, you've blinded me. Since I first saw this thread I've noticed (1) That (wretched) 70s Show uses some skewed form of Hobo in their credits (ersatz vernacular?), and (2) my favorite used bookstore in Chicago, Myopic, has Hobo plastered all over their awning. Myopic, indeed.

Joe Pemberton's picture

Stop! My eyes! My eyes!

Bitstream needs to do the world a favor and stop
disctributing this for about a decade. Then when they
re-release it it will be the hottest thing since, well, since

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