Through a comedy of errors involving an absent passport and a surprise birthday trip, I found myself on a weekend jaunt to Brussels a couple of weeks ago. My only previous visit to the city was a sad, grey tale of a group of rugby fanatics having their hopes dashed as the Les Bleus demolished Les All Blacks in 2007. I was looking forward to updating my Belgium anecdotes with something a little more positive.
I was already overly excited by the prospect of a weekend dedicated to moules frites, waffles and beer, but was not expecting Brussels to be a typographic haven.
It was a chocolate box of design. A thousand references for inspiration. Like running around in a Wes Anderson film, only I wasn't dressed in pastels and I got conned into exorbitant paella at a tourist restaurant. On second thought, maybe it was like a Wes Anderson film.
But from the elegant twisting of the fluorescent signage, to the elaborate box shadows on a shop facade, in every corner there were examples of beautiful typography. Both old and new. Proof that good design is infectious.
While some parts were a bit tourist-twee, the intention to beautify was everywhere.
All photos taken on my iPhone as, like the fool I am, I took my SLR but forgot the memory card.
It's the little details that grab you.
We stopped in at the Delirium Cafe, and it was like the mothership of vintage beer signage.
This Q for example, I was transfixed by this Q.
I tend to work in more muted shades, so the bold colours and sharp shadows seduced me from across the bar (definitely nothing to do with the four pints of 8% Red Cherry beer).
I recreated it with a few favourite words* below, and the style seems delightfully adaptable to font and palette. I'll be nabbing that for a future project.
*I like the way you kind of roll the word amalgamate around your mouth to say it...
But back to Brussels...
I geeked out and took photos of everything and anything in the Delirium Cafe.
A selection of the non-blurry ones below.