Cincinnati Storefront Signage Research

On-premise Signage Research Grant: $10,000

Emerging Research Fellowship 2018 - 2019 by The Academic Advisory Council for Signage Research and Education (AACSRE)
Link: https://www.aacsre.org/single-post/2018/03/16/Announcing-Second-Class-of-Fellows

Signs contribute significantly to the visual identity of neighborhoods often representing the interplay of the collective social, political, cultural and economic values of the people who live and work in the neighborhood. On-premise signs displayed on building facades and storefronts in the neighborhood business district are examined in three distinct neighborhoods in Cincinnati to document the typographic style as well as the anatomy (material, size and scale, color, etc.) of the signs. An empirical photographic survey is employed for elevational mapping to record the full range of on-premise signs in each neighborhood business district. Around 150 on-premise signs were documented and analyzed. Our findings suggest that as neighborhoods gets gentrified the typeface choices become more homogeneous, mostly all-capitalized, three-dimensional and with back-lit. Undifferentiated, generic and visually monotonous signs represent the newly developed businesses and exclusive commercial upgrade. Robust and diverse neighborhoods showcase inclusive and heterogeneous choices of typeface in the storefront signage.