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Typeface for Prague enamel street signs

Typeface for Prague enamel street signs. Presentation by Filip Blažek to ATypI in Amsterdam on 12 October 2013


Until very recently, the typefaces used on enamel street signs were drawn by hand. Unfortunately the producers introduced computers to the process which resulted in brutal degradation of the typographic quality of street signs. Two years ago, I was invited to organize a typographic workshop at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design, Prague, and I asked a group of students to create a typeface for Prague street signs based on the letterforms used between 1890s and 1990s. The result was very impressive, so I decided to undergo the process of countless negotiations with Prague municipality. The project has a happend: Last year, Prague mayor accepted the proposal and all street signs in the capital of the Czech Republic are required to use the students' typeface system and follow certain guidelines. No more Helvetica Condensed Bold extended to 130 percent but a beautiful typeface Smalt (Czech for enamel).