Thursday, September 14, 2006

Los Angeles Resumes Dotting Its "i"s on City Streets

I've started noticing a new look on certain street signs, including the ones at the intersection of Wilshire and Western (above) and Olympic and Western. The font is different -- it's a thinner, more modern-looking sans serif, on a deeper blue background.

But something even more dramatic caught my eye: The "i"s are dotted.

Yup, the dots have returned. If you haven't noticed, the most recent edition of Los Angeles' street name signs had strangely avoided placing dots in lower-case "i"s. Last year, guest contributor Jogannes Grenzfurthner (visiting from Vienna) noticed:

Where are the dots on the 'i's?
Saving money?
Fancy font?
Mysterious pattern conspiracy?

Here's a street name sign for Wilshire without the dotted "i"s:

I tried calling the city to ask them -- but they had no idea what I was talking about. Actually, the woman on the other end at first thought I was referring to an intersection in West Hollywood. ("I'm sorry sir, but I don't think that intersection is in Los Angeles.")

I guess we'll have to live with the mystery for now. Is Los Angeles introducing a new style for its street name signs? Did the city indeed conciously bring back the dotted "i"? And most importantly, why am I so interested in geeky stuff like this?

I'm about to get even geekier on you. I've for years wondered about the chronology of what appears to be the three different style of street name signs in Los Angeles. (If there are more, please let me know... but it seems as if these are the three I see everywhere).

The classic, all-caps street name sign. This is the one on top of Franklin Avenue, obviously. It's the oldest style, boasting all caps and a deep, dark blue background. It's my favorite of the three.

The multi-level street name sign. Of the three, I probably see these the least. Nothing too special here, other than the fact that the street name and the block numbering are printed on two separate signs that are attached , or can be removed individually.

The modern, dot-less street name sign. The one in most common use today. Boasts the cool flair design, in which the edge of the street name sign is cut at an angle.

Anyone (as usual, LA City Nerd, I'm looking at you) know the history/chronology of L.A.'s three street name signs? Please share!


Anonymous said...

I have always wondered why Los Angeles never dotted it's "I's". Seems strange considering the dot is part of a lower case "I".

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Anonymous said...

I saw that strange Wilshire/Olympic sign yesterday while driving through Koreatown. It is actually non-standard and not part of LADOT Sign Shop's specs. I think it was done by an LADOT third-party contractor.

I recently talked to the foreman of the Sign Shop at Piper Tech and he said that they are going to take down a lot of non-standard blue signs including the new ones with the city seal on top and replacing them with the traditional LADOT standard signs.