Bay Area Artist Uses Typefaces To Depict Iconic San Francisco Scenes

Because of its iconic bridge, ocean-lined cityscape, and historical significance, San Francisco is frequently featured in works of art. There are countless photographs, paintings, and sculptures created every year to represent and pay homage to the city we call home. But we bet you haven’t seen any art of San Francisco created entirely with typefaces. 

Omar Sandoval is a self-described “pioneer in the land of topographic typography.” He uses numbers, the alphabet, and other number- and letter-like symbols to create topographic typography depictions of well-known city scenes. Currently, Sandoval is working on creating silkscreen prints of all the cities he has traveled to recently, including Boston, London, Sydney, and of course, our very own San Francisco. Collectively, the project is called “My ‘Type’ of City.” Clever.

One of his pieces of art features the fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge created entirely with per mille symbols — the sign used to represent “parts per thousand.”

Born in Chicago and raised in the Bay Area, Sandoval has been creating artwork with typefaces since 2006.

[jump] “I believe typography is architecture on a page,” Sandoval said. “I want people to realize the importance of type faces and fonts,” he continued. “A lot of people take the alphabet for granted. In the land of typography, even the most desolate, isolated mark is still part of an environment.”

One reason Sandoval enjoys working with typefaces is the historical aspect of the alphabet and its related symbols.

“There’s so much history involved in just one mark,” Sandoval said. “Ancient scribes are responsible for so much of what we use today.”

Sandoval plans to display his work at San Francisco’s First Thursday Art Walk, and will be putting one of his posters up at 17th and Mission.

If you want to support Sandoval and his work, check out his Kickstarter campaign, which closes this coming Saturday. He plans to use the money for art supplies for future projects — he is also an oil painter and photographer — and to rent space in an art studio.

According to his Kickstarter page, Sandoval plans to survey backers to determine the most-liked designs of each of the cities depicted, and then use a letterpress to recreate the images on a 13×19 magnesium plate. A video on the Kickstarter page shows Sandoval in action.

These prints definitely aren't type-ical. (Okay, that was bad. We just really wanted to make a pun too.)

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