We’re Going to Have to Take the Crate and Barrel Sign Out to the Country, To A Big Nice Farm, Where It Can Have Lots of Room to Play With All Its Other Sickly Sign Friends


This terrific link comes by way of Unbeige sister blog, brother site, cousin poster, or whatever you want to call it, FishbowlNY. I love this kind of thing so much it hurts. If you talk to my girlfriend, she will confirm that I go crazy for burnt-out neon signs and bunko signs that have lost a few letters here and there. For one, it’s the potential humor value that we’ve been taught to look out for (“Look, it kinda spells something vaguely like something else!”), but also because you think that’d be the one thing a place of business could get right. Sure, they might not have the right kind of hammer that you need, or their salespeople might be rude, but geez, their sign, which they probably spent a fortune on, from the creative design to just hoisting the damn thing up, is your first impression of the place. You’d think a burnt out bulb in one of those things would be akin to the highest Code Blue afforded to retail stores. Yet no, you see these things out for weeks. Maybe it’s just me and having had to be semi-aware of type and branding and presentation in my professional life. I don’t know. Probably says something about the difference between designers and clients. And the general public. Whatever the case, I enjoy this terrific entry about wayward Crate and Barrel signs, and if you’re like me, you probably will too. Here’s some of it:

In Crate & Barrel’s early days, company executives probably paid tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars to the design firm that created the logo, and the company likely considered dozens or hundreds of variations on the current logo before choosing one. The creation of a logo is often a painstaking process, and the end result is supposed to be an unalterable design whose elements are always rendered in exactly the same way.

So I was amused last fall when I noticed that some things had gone terribly wrong with the sign above the Crate & Barrel store on the northwest corner of Broadway and Houston. Below is what the sign looked like in late September. The r in “Crate” and the e in “Barrel” have rotated counter-clockwise, as if drunk, and the second r in “Barrel” is hovering above the baseline, as if it’s trying to float away.