Literati Finds a Sign
So Uberti turned to Claudette Stern, co-owner of METAL, a fabrication shop and gallery on Felch. "Claudette said, 'You've got to meet W.A.P. John!' So she took me over to W.A.P.'s business, Grafaktri, and introduced me. Between them, they sourced me some scrap metal they weren't using, and that went in the 826 window."
Playing off the image of a manual typewriter in the store's logo, Uberti came up with the idea of a typewriter-key sign. The Gustafsons liked it immediately. "Oliver listened to what we wanted; nothing too flashy or too big; something in line with the scale, something in line with our aesthetic," Hilary says. "Previously we went through numerous designs, and none of them seemed right. Oliver got it on the first try. It was pretty amazing."
To get the exact look he wanted, Uberti studied "tons" of typewriters. He then made black paper mock-ups of the circular keys he liked and put them up in his house, stepping back to see how they looked at different distances. He describes a Goldilocks process: "The ten-inch diameter seemed too small, twelve inches was too big. Eleven inches was just right."
The sign also had to conform to Historic District Commission guidelines--but that wasn't a problem. "They said it was exactly the kind of sign they want to see in downtown Ann Arbor," Hilary recalls.