Mailbox Script and Scripture
September 6, 2018 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Many Mennonite farms in the area display roadside signs like this. I'd like to identify the font on this particular sign and to know more about where such signs come from.

The signs are generally at mailbox height, either freestanding or attached to a mailbox. The inserted message changes on a regular basis--say, monthly?--but is always Biblical. Which makes me think there's some kind of a subscription service, as I have never seen these for sale in area Mennonite-run general stores. I think of them as a kind of graffiti, public statements of what's on the mind of the owner, and I am curious about the history and current use of these signs. (And yes, font folks, I'd love to know what you think the font is. Weirdly, it makes me think of The New Yorker cover font. Other signs differ, sometimes edging into Comic Sans territory.) Bonus question: This is in Pennsylvania; are they elsewhere?

I am aware that I could go up to the door and ask, but that seems intrusive. (Uh, hi, excuse me, who in your household picks the sign out there every month? Do you take turns? Who makes these things, anyway? Do you get them through a church? Rent or buy? Does the wooden frame come with, or do you have to build it yourself?) Still: I'm curious!
posted by MonkeyToes to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Fonts are Peignot and Futura. I have no idea about their history.
posted by zadcat at 9:01 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

These are Mennonite yard signs, though maybe not the kind you're looking for. Apparently they're spreading.

And for the record, the masthead of The New Yorker is actually in a font called New Yorker Type. I really don't think it looks much like the font in the picture.
posted by ubiquity at 9:15 AM on September 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mennonite gospel sign systems appear to be a thing.
posted by zamboni at 9:36 AM on September 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

From that 2011 article:
The ministry uses volunteer labor provided by church youth who cut 4-by-8-foot sheets of painted aluminum and then apply reflective vinyl letters. James L. Kreider, the group’s marketing manager, estimates there are more than 5,000 signs on display in 30 states, British Columbia, Ontario and Guatemala.

Families are encouraged to buy two signs for $17.50 each and place them in a wooden frame on the edge of their property. Once the frame is in place, a group of young men from the church travels along a “sign circle” route about 20 to 25 miles in diameter, rotating the signs with a fresh message each month.
posted by zamboni at 9:40 AM on September 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: zamboni, thank you--that article explains a LOT, and is exactly what I wanted to know!
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:40 AM on September 6, 2018

I remember these being quite common in Lancaster County, PA.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:53 AM on September 6, 2018

They're actually kind of common where I live in Lassen County, California. There's a small (like 25 members) Mennonite community here. They've got a church and a school and several farms and a greenhouse/produce stand. And all of their houses have these signs out front. In a similar font.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:21 PM on September 6, 2018

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