Caffè Artigiano, with multiple locations in the Lower Mainland, has a wonderfully well thought-out design. It’s elegant, welcoming, and stylish and it carries through all aspects of their interior and exterior. I love these outside signs:
and everything else is in harmony: the colours, the furniture, the lighting, and the rest of the signage. Imagine my horror last week when I drove past the one on Hastings Street in Burnaby and saw this abomination over the entrance:
I slammed on the brakes and came close to having an accident. Some would see this as overreacting to a change of typeface, but, while I have nothing against Helvetica* — an excellent typeface with many appropriate uses — you can probably see how the stark, blocky, white on black sign when I was expecting the usual Renaissance red and gold and sensual curves was a bit of a shock.
I suffered every day for a week, wondering what was going on. Under new management, maybe? But why would they mess with a good thing?
The story ends happily: it appears it was a temporary aberration. The day before Hallowe’en, new illuminated signs went up. My design sensitivities are soothed.
*Later: Anonymous (see comments) pointed out that I had not looked closely enough. The temporary sign was in fact done in Arial, the version of Helvetica widely used in word processing. See the difference in the “a,” below.