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Door Sign Reference

Started by Scarfwearer, May 14, 2009, 03:14 pm

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Dec 26, 2018, 03:41 pm #270 Last Edit: Dec 26, 2018, 03:43 pm by TheEccleston
I know it's a fairly big gap since the last post but upon looking at some of the old references I've used it's come to my attention that the Hudolin/TVM exterior Door Sign might just be using Times Roman (Bold), as some of the control faces in the interior do. The "U" Does still have the same issue as before though.

Some of it isn't completely lined up due to the spacing and sign being painted directly. (As shown with the red line)

"Physician, heal thyself..."
-Paul McGann, Night of The Doctor.


Dec 26, 2018, 06:31 pm #271 Last Edit: Dec 26, 2018, 06:59 pm by mverta
The challenge is that classic police boxes/TARDISes do not actually use fonts as we know them.  As you note, they are hand-lettered, based on fonts.  Even stamped or letter-press typography of the era demonstrates huge variations in letterforms for a given font family.  And not only will you not find a font that matches exactly, but if you lay it out in a computer and simply print it you torpedo the look -  it is not accurate, and you engineer all the interest out of it.  It's the hand-lettered, imperfect, organic quality which is the x-factor.   The best and easiest bet is to find a font that approximately matches, and then push and pull the letterforms (or have someone do it for you) in Illustrator to follow the contours and set-up of an actual sign.  You'll find it's wonky, wobbly, asymmetrical, and absolutely what a police box looks like.  If you've ever taken a photo of half your face and mirrored it, you'll notice it doesn't look like you anymore.  It's very much the same with hand-lettered fonts - make them mathematically precise and they're not the same at all.  It's a little thing, but it's the biggest thing.  And there are no shortage of people who will help you with this if you don't have the skill yourself.  Never use a computer font for a hand-lettered sign.  Pretty sure that was the 11th Commandment.

Anyway, just my .02. Kills me to see sterility in letterforms.  Will help if I can!


Jan 27, 2019, 05:36 pm #272 Last Edit: Jan 27, 2019, 05:38 pm by lofiscifi
Quote from: markofrani on Sep 07, 2009, 05:32 pm
A few grabs of the phone panels used on the Yardley-Jones and re-dressed Newbery box. The 'all calls' panel has either been amended at some point or there were two panels in existence. Notice the difference in the word 'PUBLIC' on the middle and right phone panel. The one on the left is the original Yardley Jones phone panel.

On the back of this post (from 10 YEARS AGO), I've had a go at creating these three PTO signs from the Tom Yardley-Jones box(es).

With the exception of the 1st design (which clearly used Times New Roman Letraset), they're hand-painted.

I'd originally assumed the 3rd design was a modification of the 2nd, but they're actually quite different.

Hopefully, I've managed to conjure up the battered texture of the real props. Happy to share the lettering in plain white on black (or white on transparent) if that's of use to anyone?




Great stuff! Thank-you!


Mar 20, 2019, 11:05 pm #275 Last Edit: Mar 20, 2019, 11:07 pm by Hodge
Does anybody have any ideas what fonts were used on the Dimensions in Time signage?



Clayton Hickman made this recreationDIT door sign.jpg

Lyn Winters

Gave a shot at the Police Post? sign (Like that hadn't been done years ago), as I was browsing an older part of the site. Don't know really why I did it. Might improve it a bit.


Apr 17, 2019, 10:08 pm #278 Last Edit: Apr 17, 2019, 10:15 pm by deck5

Lyn Winters

Newbery door sign I guess.


Here is my attempt at the Tom Yardley-Jones Mk II (1981) sign

Sorry if this has been covered before but does anyone have any suggestions on how to transfer the letters onto wood? I've looked into transfer decals but this has turned out to be incredibly expensive
PullToOpen_March2020 copy2.png


Also, forgot to say, in case this of interest, I used the following fonts -

Police Telephone, Free for use of Public = Times New Roman
Advice (through to) Calls = Averia Sans Libre
Pull To Open = Verb Condensed

The ampersands are handdrawn

Many thanks to Clayton Hickman


For things at work I'd always used carbon paper, so that's what I did for my phone box door too.

47-phone door sign.jpg

Then paint or route as applicable!


Great idea, cheers. I've decided to go down the stencil route (which has also cost a pretty penny but nowhere near as much as the decal route).

Angelus Lupus

May 18, 2020, 12:14 am #284 Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 12:15 am by Angelus Lupus
Elsewhere on the forum we were discussing the merits of Inkscape, and it reminded me to look at some unfinished projects.
Here, based on as many reference images as I could find (resized, adjusted perspective and overlaid to ensure they all agreed) is my Arwel Wyn Jones PTO sign.  This makes use of the filters in Inkscape to mimic the raised lettering.


As to the size - at first it was tricky until I realised the actual sign turns out to have a bevel so you have to know if you're measuring to the raised edge or not. Matching to whole-number font sizes - starting with a nice round 100pt top line - means the sign comes out at the 10.25" by 11.5" lespaceplie calculated, and (allowing nought-point-something  mm wiggle room for the bevel) agrees with the metric measurement in the Tardis manual!
A mixed-up non-conformist, trying to fit in.