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Lombardi’s-inspired lettering art

Very rarely, my passions for pizza and lettering cross paths, but the decorative pizza letter V used for this post is an awesome case in which I can dork out on both things at once.

My friend Jessica Hische runs a site called The Daily Drop Cap, where she designs an ornamental letter every work day to be used for decorative initials (I wrote more about the topic previously, elsewhere). Last night she was one of the attendants at a big typography nerd get-together I organized at Lombardi’s Pizza in Manhattan (if you don’t know about it already, Google it). While scarfing on pizza, we joked about how she should make a pizza-themed initial, but I didn’t think she’d actually do it.

Speaking of Lombardi’s-inspired lettering art done by friends (I couldn’t think of a more obscure topic) I ran in to the artist and legendary NYC skateboarder Harry Jumanji during a trip to Lombardi’s last year. He was so psyched on the pizza that he broke out his markers and did a mini piece on the back of a postcard for the owner, John Brescio:

Harry Jumanji

I got one too (though it was skate-themed, rather than pizza):

Card from Jumanji

For what it’s worth, the first time I ever went to Lombardi’s I was similarly compelled to make this drawing in my sketchbook (the disgruntled guy on the right is totally unrelated):

Lombardi's / Disgruntled NYC subway rider

I guess all the pizza art makes sense with the huge Mona Lisa on the outside wall — they say “the debate over her smile is over”.

Lombardis - Mona Lisa

Since I’m on the subject, Lombardi’s also is relevant to another obscure design-related fascination of mine, which is the pointing-finger symbol known as the “manicule”. For whatever reason, I collect photos of the symbol in use and, coincidentally, they’re used heavily for signage at Lombardi’s — including a sizable example on the exterior of the building (just above the Mona Lisa):

Lombardi's Pizza

In closing, a gratuitous photo of the source material:

Lombardi's Pizza

©2010