Jessy Nite's Guide to Miami Beach's Best Signage
Miami artist Jessy Nite may be as "Bad As [She] Wanna Be," but that doesn't mean she can't also use her art skills for good. Nite recently launched Nite Writer, her own design, illustration and typographic studio. So we asked her about the sites around town that inspire her creations. Here's her response.
Hunting down great signage is one of my favorite things to do. Everywhere I go, my only vacation photos are of signs, and in a place like Miami, it's a total dream for type fans of any persuasion. But asking me to choose my favorite signs is like asking me to choose my favorite band...I don't even know where to start! Every neighborhood has its own style, and there are pockets of typographic magic all over this city. There's the epic sprawl of Serge's hand painted work in Little Haiti, the neons on Calle Ocho, the funny spanglish hand-written notes in windows across the city, and of course the vintage gems from the early days.
I could drive around for months and never capture them all, so I decided to stick to my home court: The Beach! I skipped the expected Delano, Sagamore and Eden Rock, and tried to grab a variety of my favorites that range from the local spots I see daily on South Beach, to the big Collins hotels I used to dream about while on vacation at my Great Grandma's on 69th Street. So here you go: The Nite Writer Signage Tour of Miami Beach.
This is probably my favorite sign on South Beach. I love that it's on a building that is always empty and surrounded by the characters on Washington Ave...and what it says, "Giveaway," makes me think of people just giving up and giving themselves away, disappearing into the derelict beach scene.
I'm not sure if this is the original colorway and signage set, but I love it. The mix of letter styles (there's even another one on the North facing side) and candy colors fit right in line with the kinds of vintage that inspire my work.
I see this and it just makes me happy. It makes me think about families and couples coming here back in the day, on Holiday "in The Tropics!" There's something about that word that really embodies Miami and that bold letter style makes it feel like we're claiming it.
This one is clean and strong, but almost playful in the way it moves with you. From different angles, you can see the letters floating in the sky.
I am a sucker for an old Caddy and an Art Deco hotel, so put them together and I'm in love. This sign in just cool as hell...neon, perfect cursive and flanked by palm trees.
I didn't want to show the expected hotel signs, but I feel like this one may be expected. First of all, the scale of it is super exciting just from the beginning...this particular sign is humungous! The big swoopy C is so pretty and I think the harder, more legible script gives it energy so its not as dreamy as some of the other cursive hotel signs.
I love the use of the building with this sign (I tend to like things that are built to the architecture that surrounds it). The Blackletter/Old-English-y style of "Sherry" is so nice...kind of tall but really tightly kerned.
This little guy is just kind of quirky on its own, but the way it fits in with the whole hotel is awesome. It was really tough to get a picture of, but you can see some of the arches of the car port here. It looks great when you're driving up!
The squared "Golden Sands" is great and I really like the colors, too...there's just a tiny bit of turquoise in the "Lounge" sign. And the wear on it looks perfect!
It's so fun to see the heritage of different brands, especially those that are still around. Publix has some amazing original signage at their older stores around the state, but this is the first Walgreens I think I have seen. The scale of it is so impressive in person and the letter style looks beautiful with so much spacing in between.
I am pretty sure that this used to be Peggy's, but I have always just assumed that! I always wonder what that P looked like...I bet it was big and swoopy because the rest of the lettering is so cute. That capital E mixed in with the lower case cursive is the best!
This is one of my favorite buildings on South Beach. All of the lettering is set in the concrete, so the fact that the lettering will stay with its building as both a design element of its facade and actual signage is really cool. No matter what the building becomes, it will always look that way.
This is one of the many Art Deco gems from my neighborhood. I love that a lot of the apartment buildings have names and many of them, like Norma, still have their original signage. This building looks amazing compared to some of the others so I chose it to represent the entire neighborhood that I love to live in.
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