ABSTRACT: When wandering around a city such as São Paulo, we are surrounded by letters, numbers and symbols. These elements form part of an environment full of signs in many shapes and sizes that compete for our attention. Our perception of these elements contributes towards our spatial guidance and sense of place. The idea of `reading' the city, or urban environment, was introduced by Kevin Lynch, for whom reading the urban structure follows on from recognizing or identifying its numerous visual elements, not necessarily verbal ones. Beginning with a brief bibliographic review of perception theories, this article combines concepts from environmental psychology with concerns brought up by the fields of information design and epigraphy studies, setting out the basis of a methodological proposal for the study of typography and lettering in the urban environment.
VISUAL COMMUNICATION. 01/2009; 8(3):339-348.