These words fit perfectly within the context of Boxwars – the event where I shot this photo. Shortly before
they were applied via spray paint on fantastical and bizarre armours made entirely of cardboard which were
thereafter completely smashed in a furious all-against-all battle.
‘Ve las tu‘ actually means something like ‘see them yourself‘ in Spanish which could result to be quite interesting
since the subtitle is ‘fish and meat wholesale‘ but I’m not sure if that was the intention.
I found the two signs on one of Tallinn’s many beautiful, post-industrial buildings in the harbour area of the city.
Surely a self-taught boatman-typographer at work here.
This battered vessel was parked in the slightly neglected western harbour off Tallinn’s centre.
This one’s from a concrete jetty in Tallinn. These must be letters from the time when Estonia was a Soviet
Socialist Republic (until 1991). The concrete background and the harsh message seem to convey the atmosphere
that used to reign there.
“ENTRANCE” – also from the recently mentioned art centre under development.
A stencil applied on the wall inside one of many abandoned, industrial buildings in Tallinn, Estonia.
Now being converted to an art centre.
A beautiful typographic initiative indeed. Whoever made this sign he/she was more than a shoemaker
or tailor. A true designer soul comes out especially in the ‘S‘ and ‘R‘ where limitations of the tool
were turned into creative proficiency. Also note that despite the otherwise restrained intervention
in the cutting of complex shapes there was still space for a stylish diagonal cut to the ‘A‘ giving the whole
a more dynamic appearance. Genuinely straightforward choice of words. Made in Estonia.
I’m sad I cannot find out the stories behind these battered traces of letters.
At first I only noticed the most obvious, khaki-coloured indication of a bracketed slab-serif face.
It had two lines of text, the upper in Estonian and the lower in Russian, but neither I can fully decipher.
Then there is another type, a grotesque, traces of which you can clearly see on the second photo.
The second one was obviously mounted on top of the leftovers of the first one, but now, as it seems,
the business has finally come to a standstill. (The photo includes my humble cameo :)
The serifed letters used to say: PUDUKAUBAD and almost certainly ГAΛAНТEРEЯ
which, according to a few online dictionaries, translates into haberdashery.
These kind of shops used to sell small items used in clothing, such as ribbons and buttons,
or completed accessories, such as hats, belts or gloves.
There are a few curious things about these two signs.
First of all the similarities in the drawn lettering. They are not identical of course but they certainly
seem to have a common inspiration. That’s especially visible in the letters ‘K‘, ‘V‘ and ‘I‘.
Secondly they’re both Estonian establishments – on the left an Estonian grocery shop and on the
right an Estonian café.
Strangely enough the photo on the left is from Helsinki and the one on the right is from Tallinn.
Note the karaoke arrow at the bottom of the right sign.
I couldn’t figure out the words from the broken letters and had to look the place up on the internet.
It’s the Kalevi Sports Hall and certainly it has seen better days. On the other hand, from this blog’s
(my) point of view it’s going just in the right direction – further and further away from the lofty,
pompous visions of it’s designers towards a beat but dignified look full of hidden marvels and surprises.
The Socio-Realist figures are nowadays so beautifully detached from reality.