I noticed a lot of reverse-contrast lettering on signage around Alicante. This treatment is often seen with slab serif typefaces developed during the first half of the 19th century. When the serifs and horizontal strokes appear heavier than the stems, it is referred to as Italian or Italienne. This type was popular for publicity work and was consequently cut in wood at very large sizes. The reverse slab serif is perhaps most often associated with circus posters and the American Old West. This specimen, however, is quite peculiar in that it has the hallmarks of a reverse slab typeface minus the serifs. Some details in the construction are equally unusual, the counter in the R being particularly noteworthy.

Posted Wednesday May 20, 2009