The Lemon

Type Illustrations

Self-Directed Project (Ongoing) A derelict pub in North-East London caught my eye on a near daily basis with an advertisement promoting real ales and stouts. The sign consisted of Art Nouveau typography, beautifully extruded from the rectangular tiles underneath that held all the characters inline to one another.

I decided I would try to create a similar piece of typographic work, hand-drawing the font with digital tools.

I stumbled across a quote by Oscar Wilde that read: ‘A grapefruit is a lemon that had a chance and took advantage of it!’, which I looked into further. One interpretation of the message is that the lemon (lemon being a slang word for something defective) seized an opportunity to make itself into something more thriving, and as there is a growing trend of regenerating previously abandoned or run-down establishments, I felt this was a fitting message.

Rather than paraphrasing directly, I rearranged Wilde’s quote to give the name a bit more subtlety and humour. Initially I came up with ‘The Grapefruit and the Lemon’, which was then simplified down to just ‘The Lemon’.

In homage to the extruded ceramic lettering, I added depth to the characters within my illustration, with the hatching-style shading inspired by canal boat signs of a similar time period to the old pub advert.

Design and Illustration: Chris Thomas

The Lemon – 'U'
The Lemon – 'E'n
The Lemon – 'A'
The Lemon – 'R'