One of the things I find fascinating about Brunswick St is a series of ugly signs for shops and businesses. More than simple descriptive signs incorporating a business name, these signs are sculptural and incorporate some abstract or visual element that is symbolic of the purpose of the business.

uglysigns1 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

uglysigns2 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

Some, like Flowers Vasette (above), are still representative of the current business in the building, but many others are a tangential reminder of former tenants, like this former framing business (below) that is now a fashion boutique.

uglysigns3 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

uglysigns4 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

What was Sweet Temptations is now Atomica cafe (above).

uglysigns5 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

uglysigns6 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

I thought these signs were the product of a trend now long passed into utter aesthetic misfortune, and so I was flummoxed to see China Bar (above) simply add their name to the old Penang Affair sign on the street. It hardly seems consistent with current branding and design ideas.

uglysigns7 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

uglysigns8 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

uglysigns9 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

In some cases the old sign, such as for Charmaine’s icecream (above) is a sad reminder of a place I loved to visit (for their chilli chocolate icecream). Then it became the wonderful Juanita’s cafe, and it’s now the badly named and presented Ta-Co Choc Shock cafe. Eew. I cannot bring myself to step inside.

uglysigns10 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

The characters on the gate of the Fitzroy Nursery are similar in style to some of the signs (below).

uglysigns11 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

I also find it intriguing that most new businesses don’t make the effort to remove the signs of previous inhabitants of their premises. The sign from Bakers cafe remained on the wall as the premises subsequently housed La Vines, Ka Ka and Freedom Village restaurants (below).

ka the ugly signs of Brunswick St

It was only with the arrival of Hooked that the Bakers sign was removed (below).

uglysigns12 the ugly signs of Brunswick St

the ugly signs of Brunswick St

4 thoughts on “the ugly signs of Brunswick St

  • 12 July 2011 at 2:28 pm

    You might find some of these signs are not removed when a new business takes over, because keeping and maintaining the sign is a condition included in the sales settlement. I know that was the case with at least one of the signs photographed above. I personally am glad they remain, as a reminder of what was.

  • 12 July 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Those signs, in particular the one above the flower shop mean so much to me and are very much an intrinsic part of Brunswick St. I remember going there in the early nineties maybe the late eighties and those sign’s above the shops are what are seared into my memory the most especially the flower one.

  • 13 July 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I love the signs.
    They remind me of the memories I have of Brunswick St when I was a young teenager.
    Brunswick street has changed so much for the worse in the last 10 years, that this is a nostalgic reminder of what the place one was.


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