Hey, look what I found! House numbers meet the Evil Chinky Font! Or, perhaps more accurately, house numbers sprang from an ECF. Truly I never would have figured this out on my own, because as the designers point out, the house numbers have “gradually softened” to the point that they don’t seem to resemble any ECF at all, but inhabit their own house number world. My pal the Triathlete has been obsessed with house numbers lately, so I’ve been looking at them more, & wondering where the hell they came from, because they are so typographically odd. Mystery solved, & who ever woulda guessed the answer would strike so close to home?
I can’t help but draw a parallel between the house numbers &—wait for it—“American Chinese” food (aw, you saw that one coming). They both started out as weird misinterpretations of something Chinese, then evolved into their whole own reality, becoming ubiquitous & integral staples of American culture. Arguably the house numbers travelled much farther than the food; the numbers started as racist caricatures (not designed by Chinese typographers, we can safely assume) & are now no longer recognizably Asian in any way at all, racist or otherwise, whereas the food started through gradual adaptations by Chinese cooks themselves trying to figure out what white people wanted to eat, & can still be described the same way.
I love smart type designers. I love them even more when they explain things so clearly.
In cold news, today my throat was still sore enough that an apple was too hard & lumpy to swallow comfortably, but I did have enough energy to make applesauce, which felt quite soothing, both to make & to eat.