Font Sunday: The Corita Kent-Inspired Billboard-Themed Edition

We guest-hosted #FontSunday for our friends at Design Museum with marvellous results.

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  • Exhibitions

It's not easy picking a single sort of typography from the work of font-happy Corita Kent, but after much wrangling we managed to choose a theme for the Design Museum's #FontSunday: billboards.

Corita was a huge fan of billboards and some of her most famous works draw on the visual iconography of those roadside marvels: from Pepsi-Cola's 'Come Alive!' to Richfield Oil Company's 'Power Up'.

Corita was adamant that the man-made world was just as valuable, beautiful and inspiring as the natural one: 

one is not better than the other; one is not more delightful than the other.

And she had cautionary words for those who failed to recognise this:

The people who would like you to remove the signs to see the trees behind might not enjoy those trees as much as the people who can delight in both.

She insisted that artists should celebrate the present rather than idolise the past.

Artists work with the same stuff artists have always worked with; the stuff that is around them. In the 18th century, it was ladies and gentlemen and swings in a garden; today it may be Campbell’s soup cans or highway signs. There is no real difference... Campbell’s soup is a long way from the caves of Lascaux, but we are still painting what we see.

Living and working in 1960s Hollywood, the “stuff” that was “around” Corita was a heady blend of advertising slogans, food packaging, road signs and, bringing all those things together, billboards.

Up and down the highways we see words that read almost like contemporary translations of the psalms for us to be singing on our way.

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the wonderful billboard typography you shared this #FontSunday. Here's a little taste of the day.

Want to know more about Corita Kent? Read a Q&A with the exhibition curator and read 10 of her most inspirational quotes.

Feeling typographically inspired? Check out our other Font Sunday round-ups: our George Him-inspired persuasion-themed edition and our Made In North Korea-inspired food tin label-themed edition.