CULTURE & ARTS
08/25/2015 09:12 am ET Updated Aug 25, 2015

The Gorgeous, Disappearing Street Signs Of Paris

"A city lives because of its design elements. Signs are key to that life."
Louise Fili

“Paris is known for its typography,” Louise Fili told The Huffington Post via email. “One needs only to look at the Metro -- the signage is iconic.” The award-winning graphic designer has encapsulated her passion for Parisian signs in a book, Graphique de la Rue: The Signs of Paris.

 "A city lives because of its design elements," she added. "Signs are key to that life."

In Paris, the design elements will likely strike you as familiar, even if you don't have the professional expertise Fili brings to her documentation. Gilded, hand-painted signs; mosaics; art deco; neon scripts and more bring the flavor of the city to the page, each category introduced with a brief explanation and history in Fili's new compilation.

Louise Fili

“This book is my typographic love letter to Paris,” Fili writes in the introduction to the thick volume. It’s also something of a eulogy.

Returning to Paris after publishing a book of Italian signs, she expected to find Parisian signage mostly untouched. “Not so, I realized, to my great disillusionment,” she writes. “Gone were many of my favorite neon scripts [...] to be replaced by lackluster, formulaic typography.”

"Of the hundreds of&nbsp;<em>optiques</em> to be found in Paris, few use anything more than a pair of eyeglasses to communica
Louise Fili
"Of the hundreds of optiques to be found in Paris, few use anything more than a pair of eyeglasses to communicate their message," writes Fili.

This is no small loss. “When traditional signs disappear, the city becomes homogenized and less picturesque,” she told HuffPost. “A piece of history is gone forever.”

That's not to say that all signs should be in the old Parisian style. "In a modern city, modern signs are appropriate," she explained. "The NYC subway should not be French Art Nouveau. Massimo Vignelli's signage suggests sophistication and modernity. But Paris is a city where historical type and letters are its character."

See more stunning signs from Graphique de la Rue, and check out the book here.

  • Louise Fili
  • Louise Fili
  • Louise Fili
  • Louise Fili
  • Louise Fili
  • Louise Fili
  • Louise Fili
  • Louise Fili
  • Louise Fili
  • Louise Fili
  • Princeton Architectural Press

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