‘Shipyard’ is a typeface designed and projected by Jay Davison, inspired by the effects of the declining industrial industries and Thatcherism in the North of England.
Made up from a combination of three fonts including Helvetica Bold, Eurostile Bold and Microgramma D Bold Extended, the typeface is a representation of classic ship typography. Using Glyphs to generate extrusions that mimic crane-like structures, Shipyard is a usable and variable typeface.
The final typeface was projected around Newcastle and Middlesbrough to create a type specimen that aimed to evoke response in regards to the declining industrial industries of the North.
This was quite a personal project for me. Having grown up surrounded by disused shipyards and empty concrete spaces that were once buzzing with activity, it is clear that this topic has always been an interest which was rooted in my upbringing. From an early age I have had a curiosity surrounding shipyards and areas such as Willington Quay, on the banks of the River Tyne between my hometown North Shields and Wallsend. These particular areas of interest stemmed from the fact my Dad, a commercial photographer, would often work for companies such as Amec and Swan Hunters. My dad would have the job of visually documenting different construction processes within local shipyards, passing down an interest in steel structures and the shipping industry to me. In his free time my dad would often take me on drives to see cranes, offshore jackets and occasionally if a large ship was docking on the Tyne.
Interestingly, during this project I discovered that my Grandad once worked for a company called Coles, which was based in Sunderland. Coles was once one of the largest crane manufacturing companies in the world, before its closure in 1984. After his time in the merchant navy as a chief engineer, he then went on to design cranes whilst working as an engineer draughtsman for Coles. After more digging into family history on my Dad’s side, I found documentation and photographs of my Great Grandad who lived and worked on the banks of the Tyne, working as a boat builder. It began to occur to me that an interest and passion in various maritime and constructional sectors was a generational occurrence, and rightly so, as this industry was so deeply significant to the working class population of the North-East of England, pre and post-Thatcherism.