Venice Blvd, a Chunky, Funky Sans Straight Out of Venice Beach and the Boardwalk

Why’s it called Venice Blvd? “Our first font was named Palm Canyon Drive, after the main drag In Palm Springs, CA, a city known for its mid century modern architecture that inspired the typeface. Many of the typefaces we’ve designed after that were inspired by places we visited (Beale Street in Memphis, Lone Pine in California, etc) and it’s become kind of a theme. We called this font Venice Blvd because it was inspired by the chunky funky sans you’d see on a sign for a hot dog stand or a walk-in psychic around Venice Beach and the boardwalk. Venice Blvd goes all the way from Downtown LA to Venice Beach so we thought it fit the vibe nicely,” says Amy.
Back Story: While studying fine art at a community college—”Every parent’s waking nightmare,” says Amy Hood—she landed a paid design apprenticeship helping a local magazine. Amy roped in her twin sister Jen, and the two have been designing together ever since. They have years of experience designing logos and wordmarks, such as concepts for Disney Pixar’s Luca and treatments for the Showtime Era Lakers, and many more impressive client works. 
Designing custom wordmarks and titling, check. Next up, bespoke typefaces such as the playful script Palm Canyon Drive (where the street naming began), reverse contrast Lone Pine, left-leaning Beverly Drive, Beale with its retro flavor, among others. Their latest, Venice Blvd, is “an amusing and unpretentious display sans-serif family with 4 weights and 8 styles.” Designed in Glyphs, Amy & Jen have become so adept at the program and such big fans of its capabilities, that they use the app for designing wordmarks. “Glyphs gives you so much more data to make good decisions (like showing you your widths, angles, etc). When I use it, I just make individual comps in one letter area. Concept A will be in the ‘a’ glyph spot, Concept B in the ‘b’ glyph spot and so on. So each glyph area is like my logo art board. Then I have all my versioning in the same file when I make client edits, too,” says Jen. What should I use it for? Easy on the eyes with just enough quirk. When “you just need a bit of bounce, a bit of je ne sais what now?” It’s a display with just enough attitude, capable of almost anything; call it a workhorse if you must, although using it feels like anything but work. Interior or exterior signage for microbreweries or cafes, works great for food truck graphics and menus, and if you’re the lucky owner of a comedy club or theater then try it out on marquees, table tents, or sandwich boards.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? The fun and funky illustrated symbol might get your attention at first, but the black weight will keep you coming back for more. Big, meaty, and sweet, less of a bagel and more of a donut—or specifically, a deep-fried-cronut according to Amy—use Venice Blvd anywhere you’d use a typical sans serif, though, “likely not for funerals,” says Amy. “And not for a Yacht dealership, but definitely for any Cruise Liner that has a Doobie Brothers cover band or Cher impersonator in the entertainment lineup,” says Jen. At heavier weights, the angled terminals help reduce inter-letter clutter, especially when closely tracking letters, or sizing type small. Speaking of small, even the bold and black hold up well when sized to 12 pixels or 14 pixels, respectively. Its tall x-height makes small sizes seem big, the short ascenders and descenders enable tighter leading to pack a lot of lines into big or small measures. An awful lot in a small package.

Venice Blvd symbols. Image by Hoodzpah, Inc.

What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Venice Blvd (the street) is known for being accommodating, and unusually wide at 175 feet (most major LA streets are 80 feet). Like its namesake, the font is extremely accommodating—it goes well with almost anything. Pair the blunt and bold sans with the crisp, sharp Prospectus. Or go for business with the sans, party with the script, and pair Venice Blvd & Escafina! For an exotic mix, why not Venice Blvd and Carol Twombly’s Viva, an Adobe Original. A great font for anything and anyone. What more would you expect from Venice Blvd?
Name: Venice Blvd
Designers: Amy Hood & Jennifer Hood
Foundry: Hoodzpah, Inc.
Release date: March 2022

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