The Hobnob by Serhii Chrucky

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Although I wish this was an advertisement paid for in complimentary steaks and cocktails, unfortunately it is not. The Hob Nob is a classic Wisconsin supper club located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Racine. It’s a time warp in the best sense of the term, like walking into a postcard. The food is good (I wasn’t visiting on assignment, the light just happened to be perfect), and it is definitely worth a trip to any of you mid-century fans residing in or visiting the greater Chicago-Milwaukee megalopolis.

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Letterforms and signage at the Illinois Railway Museum by Serhii Chrucky

Prior to my most recent visit to the Illinois Railway Museum, a graphic designer friend asked me to make an inventory of the most compelling letterforms that I could find. The museum is known for its extensive collection of bus and rail stock dating back to the mid-19th century, but it also functions as a de facto sign museum. Many different categories of signage are represented here, including neon, enamel, plastic, button copy, metal relief, stone relief, and hand-painted. Zooming in on this wide array of signage acts as a modest transit-related typography source book.

This sign for the Santa Fe railroad sat atop the Railway Exchange building in downtown Chicago until 2012 when it was replaced with a sign for Motorola. The museum acquired the sign in 2016, and it is featured prominently at the entrance.

This sign for the Santa Fe railroad sat atop the Railway Exchange building in downtown Chicago until 2012 when it was replaced with a sign for Motorola. The museum acquired the sign in 2016, and it is featured prominently at the entrance.

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Reflective button copy on a “railroad crossing” sign.

Reflective button copy on a “railroad crossing” sign.

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Chicago Surface Lines Bus Stop sign.

Chicago Surface Lines Bus Stop sign.

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“The 400” was a passenger rail line operating between Chicago and the Twin Cities, so named because it traversed 400 miles in 400 minutes.

“The 400” was a passenger rail line operating between Chicago and the Twin Cities, so named because it traversed 400 miles in 400 minutes.

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The South Shore Line is one of the last interurban passenger rail lines still operating in the United States.

The South Shore Line is one of the last interurban passenger rail lines still operating in the United States.

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These deep purple enamel signs adorned Chicago Transit Authority stations for decades. They were removed gradually beginning in the 1950s, until the last one was removed in the early 2000s. I saw it before it was taken down…somewhere I have a photo of it in situ.

These deep purple enamel signs adorned Chicago Transit Authority stations for decades. They were removed gradually beginning in the 1950s, until the last one was removed in the early 2000s. I saw it before it was taken down…somewhere I have a photo of it in situ.

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The North Shore Line was an interurban that ran from downtown Chicago to downtown Milwaukee until 1963.

The North Shore Line was an interurban that ran from downtown Chicago to downtown Milwaukee until 1963.

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Detail of one the North Shore Line’s “Electroliner.”

Detail of one the North Shore Line’s “Electroliner.”

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