Blackpool Museum Project having been exploring what makes Blackpool special. The Museum team will be publishing blog posts about the places, behaviours, attitudes or events that they think make this seaside town so unique, dynamic and exciting. Kerry Vasiliou, Community Engagement Manager explores Blackpool’s GR8 signage.
I am Blackpool born and bred and lived here nearly all my life. There were many things I missed about the town when I was studying in Manchester, including; Blackpool’s fancy dress inclination, its sparkle and the general acceptance that things out of the ordinary fit here. After living in a metropolitan city I really noticed on my return Blackpool’s distinctive use of language and graphics in signage around the town.
Look at ME!
If you take a walk down the promenade there are advertisements telling you to go here, buy this and see that. Blackpool inherently recognises how to use immediate, enticing and straightforward language to pull you in. No wall, gate or lamppost seems safe from instructions on how to enjoy yourself and save money.
This isn’t a contemporary invasion, the sides of bathing huts in the early 1900’s advertised Hovis ‘Best of all Breads’ and a social research project called the Mass Observation Project (archive in Bolton Museum and Library Service)provided an insight into the signage landscape of the 1930s through photographs by Julian Trevelyan and Humphrey Spender.
Attention grabbing signage
A visual overload of colourful signs with large and sometimes elaborate typography invites you to experience world famous performances, stay in ‘GR8′ hotels and eat the tastiest food. The Blackpool sign knows how to get straight to the point and grab your attention like the list of unusual sideshows in Spender’s photo to the more recent ‘we sell fags’ found along the promenade.
Spotting a new sign in the town is always a treat and always puts a smile on my face as I walk into work in the morning. If you have any favourite signs, please take a photo and post it on our Facebook page.