The typography of inland Australia may be epitomised by wool bale stencils on rusty letter barrels or the faded letters on the corrugated iron tails of station windmills. On the coast, however, we find an altogether different style of type. Graphic designer Andrew Suggit, of the Gold Coast, has made a point of documenting the typography of his region. His project is called Golden Sans.
Being a young and largely residential city with no industrial past, the Gold Coast has a relatively short ‘typographic history’. If you’re looking for ghost-signs or nineteenth-century hand-lettering, you’re in the wrong place. The ‘vintage type’ of southeastern Queensland ranges from the mid-twentieth century to just a few decades old. However, just as Stefan Schutt and Sam Roberts have brought attention to the historic signage of Melbourne and London, Andrew’s enthusiasm for vintage Gold Coast type has attracted the attention of type enthusiasts worldwide. It can’t be denied, ‘The Coast’ has a style of its own.
(Andrew): I have a natural inclination to the built environment, place-making and typography, and the Gold Coast is going through rapid change at the moment so I started to document. The Golden Sans Project initially started as an Instagram-based blog which quickly developed into a full image-based research project documenting residential and urban type which has forged the identity of the Gold Coast. It has also organically developed its own brand over time to be more then a photo blog, but a place of discovery, exploration into the craft of creativity, and investigation into what drives Gold-Coast-based creatives.
I decided that alphabetically was the best way to collate the imagery. I’m constantly adding to galleries to it. It’s an ever evolving process. The project will keep moving forward as I find new imagery. I’m also working on a book and some Gold Coast centric products as we speak.
Our local vernacular typography is so specific to the coast as it is a holiday destination, so the type is generally summer fun orientated.
I have an exhibition coming up on the 12th March as part of Bleach festival 2014.
In the process of documenting all of this type, we’ve discovered some of the folks who made it, too. I am planning on speaking to a company in Burleigh [Leda Signs] that specialised in the old foam style signage.
The interest in this project has been huge, as it is a great collection – so specific and unlike any other.