In the UK, CBS Outdoor has been trying to convince advertisers to think outdoors in the city by running an in-house branding campaign on buses, trains and the London Underground. Called “Outdoor by Name, Urban by Nature,” the strategic ad series features animals and birds made up of silhouettes of familiar regional landmarks in the UK. The ad running in London, for example, depicts Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, Wembley Stadium and other urban icons. Citing data from ONS and TGI surveys, CBS Outdoor says that “87% of urban respondents have seen Outdoor advertising in the last week.” This is nearly double the number of city dwellers who are exposed to ads via newspapers and radio.
In an age when the rest of the world has given up on Blackletter typography, also known as Old English or Fraktur lettering style, newspapers haven’t. Newspapers began using Blackletter for their nameplates around the mid-19th century because it printed dark and dense, important when printing on crude groundwood paper. The letter forms also had an air of authority and incontestable truth about them, as if taken from ancient manuscripts hand-drawn by scribes or a bible set with movable type carved by Johannes Gutenberg himself. The Chicago Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times are just a few newspapers that set their name in stylized Blackletter. Interestingly, the New York Times “T” Magazine, the ultimate word on contemporary fashion and design, did not try to buck tradition and choose a 21st century font when it began publishing in 2004. Instead, it let artists and designers reimagine its Blackletter “T” logo in their chosen medium. For many of us, the “T” art has become the favorite feature of the magazine.