Our tour started at the Chicago Water Tower, with a quick look at the cast letters at the base of the water fountain, and then continued to meander back and forth across the Magnificent Mile. We looked high and low, stopping to examine cornerstones, inscriptions, restaurant marquees, churches, plaques, business logos, and architectural details ranging from the Brooks Brothers brand mark and the walls of the Tribune Tower, to the Allerton Tip Top Tap sign and the Carbide and Carbon Building.
Our southbound walk toward the Loop included many incidental stops, where Shaw would provide thoughtful historical analysis and share his boundless curiosity for hand lettering. We stopped occasionally for discussion while Shaw made wax rubbings of letterforms that inspired him. Before long, we were collaborating to identify historical styles, ruminating on the physical weathering of urban letterforms, peeling back the layers of modern and traditional references, and discovering the intriguing mishaps recorded on each of our public landmarks. Check out our tour in pictures!