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“Typographically Astute Door Numbers” from London

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“Typographically Astute Door Numbers” from London

March 14, 2022

Graphic designer Phil McNeill and industrial designer Roland Ellis met 10 years ago while working on the creative technology for a V&A exhibit. The two both happened to be avid cyclists and began pedaling around Europe together. As they rode, they struck up a conversation about door numbers and “the scarcity of well-designed and finely crafted” options.

Inspired to right that wrong, Phil and Roland spent two years developing what they describe as “typographically astute door numbers for a range or architectural periods.” They created their prototypes in Phil’s home workshop in the off hours while holding down full-time jobs. Getting every nuance right required things like building their own computer-controlled sandblasting machine to achieve the exact finish they were after.

The result is the just-launched Door Number Company. If you’re looking to give your façade an easy facelift, their digits add up. Scroll down to see examples in the wild on London doors.

Photography courtesy of The Door Number Company (@doorno.co).

the door number company&#8\2\17;s modernist geometric is one of two typefac 9
Above: The Door Number Company’s modernist Geometric is one of two typefaces on offer in brass (aluminum, and black are also available). All numbers are £19.80 each—and continue to be produced by the two originators in Phil’s East London workshop: “We currently outsource the laser cutting of the numbers, but once we have the blanks, we do all the other manufacturing processes,” says Phil.

“From an industrial design perspective,” Roland points out, what’s wrong with most house numbers is that they’re usually cast, which “doesn’t allow for the subtle details of the typeface to be fully celebrated, internal corners become rounded and soft, and during the polishing process the faces become uneven.” Suffice to say, that is not the case with their numbers.

the door number company&#8\2\17;s other typeface, art nouveau, was inspired 10
Above: The Door Number Company’s other typeface, Art Nouveau, was inspired by “the unruly aspects of the natural world.”  All numbers come with custom-finished matching screws.
an overview of the inaugural styles and finishes. the brass versions are coated 11
Above: An overview of the inaugural styles and finishes. The brass versions are coated in a preserving wax developed by the British Museum that can be reapplied or the metal can be “allowed to develop a rich patina.” The aluminum numbers are given a satin bead blast and tumble polishing to create “a soft texture with a silver fleck.” And the black options are aluminum that’s anodized “followed by a deep black pigment”—they first appear as solid black, but “the satin polish comes through under closer inspection.”
the door number company provides detailed templates for installation that ensur 12
Above: The Door Number Company provides detailed templates for installation that ensure “all the numbers are visually balanced and aligned.”

Door Number Company Designs Around London

patinated art nouveau numbers work well on an antique door with brass hardware. 13
Above: Patinated Art Nouveau numbers work well on an antique door with brass hardware.
phil and roland plan to next offer new sizes &#8\2\20;to ensure the numbers 14
Above: Phil and Roland plan to next offer new sizes “to ensure the numbers can look proportional on small and large doors.” They’re also “developing a solution to hang numbers from masonry without the risk of it looking wonky.”
the designers note that &#8\2\20;the typographic relation between each char 15
Above: The designers note that “the typographic relation between each character and overall placement” are as important as the number themselves.
on the horizon for the door number company: door hardware, including letterboxe 16
Above: On the horizon for the Door Number Company: door hardware, including letterboxes, knockers, and doorbells, “based on the details of the typefaces, creating a cohesive aesthetic visually and in finish.”

More curb appeal:

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