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FRANCE sign on London's Piccadilly

Go to solution Solved by Kevin Thompson,

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Designed in the 1961 by Erno Goldfinger and Charlotte Periand, the iconic "FRANCE" signage of the French Government Tourist Office, at French Railways House, 178 Piccadilly.

It was quite a landmark, especially when illuminated at night, but was finally taken down in 2012. I'm interested if anyone can identify the typeface, or perhaps it's a one-off especially for this application? I'm interested in the lettering as used on the building itself,  which differs from that on the architectural drawing (e.g. the letters "F", "R" and "C" are quite different).

 

Thank you / Merci!

french-travel-centre-maison-de-la-france-piccadilly-london-w1-united-BPNHD0.jpg

0407180_RIBA24856_600.jpeg

Former_French_Tourist_Office,_Piccadilly_-_geograph.org.uk_-_817884.jpg

Screenshot_1-7-2024_18425_www.ribapix.com.jpeg

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  • Solution

Sorry, but architectural signage of this type and of this era rarely corresponded to typefaces used for printing—they were often hand lettered by the architects or one of their staff. Even the drawing you posted shows slightly different, hand-drawn letter forms.

 

Ralf has a very good post about why there isn’t necessarily a typeface behind every piece of type you see out in the world.

 

Not finding a historical or contemporary typeface match. You could piece together a number of typefaces to approximate the look:

For the F, N, and E—Zupra Sans Extra Bold (clip the crossbars on the F and E)

For the R—Benton Sans Wide Black

For the A—Encode Sans Wide Black

For the C—Lulo Clean One Bold

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