Hamburg Alphabet by Chris Campe


Cover of Hamburg Alphabet book by Chris Campe

Hamburg Alphabet by Chris Campe is a delightful expose of one German city’s signage and public lettering. Featuring 220 images it catalogues these examples in alphabetical order according to the word spelled on the sign. The pages are visually striking, offering both similarities and sharp contrasts between different signs. This is testimony to Campe’s work in designing the book herself and editing down the 1,000+ images she took into the finished product.

Campe reveals a certain nostalgia for some of the signs which are being lost every day. She refers to the handful of ghostsigns and other formats as ageing “with dignity”, while some have clearly fallen into disrepair. For Campe, “without letters there is no city”, and this charming little book makes a colourful addition to the documentation of street lettering. Another documenting her photography of signs in Chicago is in the pipeline so, hopefully, news of that to follow.

While it is listed as being in German, the short introductory text is translated into English. It can be bought on Amazon and there are some more page samples to those shown below on Chris’ website. There are more blog posts about Germany on this site and it is also worth checking out the collections at the Buchstaben Museum.

Page from Hamburg Alphabet book showing four examples of public signage

Page from Hamburg Alphabet book showing signs beginning with the letter F

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