The creation and subsequent appropriation of the City of Westminster street nameplate design in London shows how urban graphic objects might evolve to serve a multitude of purposes. These range from the utility of labelling roads to the demarcation of a London’s theatre district and local immigrant community, commercial merchandising, heritage signifier, to cultural expression as a fashion accessory. The nameplate, designed in the 1960s by Christopher Timings at Design Research Unit in London, now represents a number of competing and complementary dualities: global and local, culture and commerce, modern and traditional, word and image, time and space, and its meanings continue to multiply. In the same way that landmark buildings and structures symbolize places, the same can be said of such smaller urban objects that demarcate and define spaces.
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