Wednesday, 1 December 2010

T alisman H ouse

We like Talisman House on Holburn St. We don't love it, but we like it well enough. Standing proud just south-west of the city centre, it fastens Ferryhill to the town like an obsidian brooch and is visible from just about every point in the south of the city. It is a landmark, and has been ever since it replaced the vacant, derlict and structurally-unsound brutalist slab-and-plinth College of Commerce (now part of Aberdeen College).

We think that Talisman House's blue-grey smoked glass (which sometimes reflects dramatic skyscapes) is OK. We can appreciate the effect that they've tried to achieve with the exposed gubbins of the window-cleaner's cradle track. And we can't really complain about the serpentine roof-line which adds to the scenographic sense of iconic placemaking in an après-post-modern way. It even lights up green at night. Yay!

What we can complain about, though, is the abominably uncorrected kerning (spacing) of the type which has been monumentally engraved on the polished granite gate piers.

In situ

Typed uncorrected in a word processor.
Check out the spacing between the capitals and lowercase - ugh!

It would seem to us that, when spending a five-figure sum on monumental granite, penny-pinching a couple of hundred quid on the graphic design aspect is penny-wise, pound-foolish. The result is that it looks as if whoever was in charge of organising this most public-facing aspect of the building didn't bother with retaining a graphics professional to do the work; deciding instead that all you really need to achieve a professional look is to keep it in-house, do it yourself, use Microsoft Word, print it out on a laser printer and hand the result to the mason telling him to do it just like that.

In total, there are four of these engraved polished granite gatepost plaques, two at the front and two at the back.

T alisman H ouse
S ervice E ntry

We are reminded of this NSFW vid:

If only they'd asked...


We'd have done it for £3.50 and thought of it "as a foot in the door".

1 comment:

Mike Duguid said...

This is my favourite crime against typography in Aberdeen, its sardine crammed desperation fitting for this gaudy late night haunt of alco-desperados,+Aberdeen,+United+Kingdom&hl=en&ll=57.147573,-2.094108&spn=0,0.009227&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=35.957999,75.585938&z=17&layer=c&cbll=57.147559,-2.094151&panoid=oPVypLGV0F-OZp2moJ9AHw&cbp=12,145.69,,1,-0.73