You may never have stopped to think about it, but Valencia is also recognizable by its signs. Small works of art that define the character and identity of the city, telling its history and tracing its past, present and future. Would you like to know where you can see them?
Created as part of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, TiposQueImportan.com is an online platform that aims to help preserve and advertise the commercial signs present in Valencia. A hands-on "museum" created at the initiative of typographer and graphic designer Miguel Maestro, with help from the design capital project and the community of Valencian designers, it also provides a guide for discovering the city through its signs.
"Bar, taberna, Alcazar" is the three-level sign that we find at 9 Mossén Femades street. It informs us that we are outside one of the city's most traditional locales, even if it has been repurposed and Alkazar is now written with a "k".
In Plaza Redonda, “Hilaturas Amparín” baptizes one of the most prestigious lingerie stores in Valencia that remains open to this day, and not far from there, in Calle Linterna, “Los Mejores Artículos” (The Finest Items) makes a promise in golden letters.
The beauty of the font combines with taste and tradition in Horchatería Santa Catalina, in the square of the same name and with two centuries of history in the trade. A must-visit for lovers of design and sweet flavors.
Continuing with the most authentic gastronomic heritage, we would be remiss not to mention Aquarium, in the middle of Gran Vía Marqués del Túria, a small traditional bistro where the waiters still wear a bow tie and take orders by hand. And of course, Casa Montaña, a sign that condenses all the flavor of the Cabanyal neighborhood in one of the city's most iconic restaurants. And not far from there, on the promenade, we find some examples in ceramics on the signs of restaurants with excellent ocean views, such as Chicote, La Pepica and La Marcelina.
The local fruit shop, that bakery that used to sell the really good bread and that closed its doors long ago - the Forn de Benjamin Marrades in Burjassot - and the bar with the day's tapas drawn on the window are a faithful reflection of real life in a city. And any resident of Valencia would recognize their signs at a distance, as if they were the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
But it's not just food, because the plans that were once made also have their own sign. The double showing at the Cine D’Or is still a great plan for a first date, two films at a bargain price and you can bring a snack. The same plan offered by the old Metropol cinema, an art deco style construction that still has its name engraved in stone on the facade, despite having been closed for decades. In the cultural arena, we simply have to mention those bookstores where you could find veritable treasures, like El asilo del libro (The Book Asylum) (San Ferran, 14), a delight in the center of Valencia for lovers of first editions.
The story of war is told by the signs on the air raid shelters built during the Spanish Civil War, like the one on Serranos street, Alta or Espada.
TiposQueImportan.com takes a look at neighborhoods, arts and crafts, everyday spaces, identity and creativity. A tour through the streets of Valencia where you can discover wonderful signs painted by artists on tiles from Manises or by hand on a window, gold or neon letters, works by anonymous people who helped build the city.
To walk in Valencia is to immerse yourself in this art, looking up to get to know the local culture through signs and typefaces. Because behind every sign there are people and stories, thriving businesses and other iconic venues that had to close their doors to make way for large chains and franchises, but whose legacy allows us to glimpse the past, present and future of the city. Even today they continue to inspire new creations, such as the pictures of illustrator Virginia Lorente.
You can view a map here, showing the location of the signs catalogued to date.