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“SEX” neon sign, Nice

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Aug 22nd, 2020.
    “SEX” neon sign, Nice 1
    Source: twitter.com Berlin Typography (@Berlin_Type). License: All Rights Reserved.

    One would assume that a sign maker doesn’t need a typeface to make a neon sign consisting of three amorphous letters. Still, this sign is clearly modeled after prefabricated letterforms: It’s Benguiat Laurent, drawn by Ed Benguiat for Photo-Lettering in or before 1968. Even the tiny bulge at the top left corner of S has been preserved. [edit: In fact, it’s probably Mecanorma’s Poster, see the comments.]

    Spotted in Nice, France by @Berlin_Type in 2020 (top). Julieta Ulanovsky had documented the same sign already in 2001 (see below). I wouldn’t be surprised if it dated back to the 1970s or 1980s. To my knowledge, there’s no digital version of Laurent. [correction: Julieta pointed me to a digital version (©1992 Photo-Lettering, Inc.) that floats around on the internet.]

    “SEX” neon sign, Nice 2
    Source: twitter.com Julieta Ulanovsky. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The sign as documented by Nick Sherman in August 2021.
    Source: www.flickr.com Nick Sherman. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

    The sign as documented by Nick Sherman in August 2021.

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    • Poster (Mecanorma)

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    1 Comment on ““SEX” neon sign, Nice”

    1. On second consideration, the letterforms probably aren’t based on Benguiat Laurent, which was only available from NYC-based typesetting provider Photo-Lettering, but rather on Poster by Mecanorma, the French manufacturer or dry transfer lettering sheets.

      Poster is pretty similar to Laurent, and it also has that bulge at the top left corner of S. Its drawing is generally less well-defined, see e.g. the N. While Laurent has a lowercase, too, Poster is a caps-only design. Poster is shown in Mecanorma catalogs without source or designer credits. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was copied after Laurent. The comparison below shows Benguiat Laurent (top) and Poster (bottom). The latter has been digitized by Rebecca Alaccari as Jimi (Canada Type, 2004).

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