Heights resident and neighbor Paul Luccia knows his craft, and is always finding ways to do some good with his handy work. His latest volunteer project: putting some life back into the Heights public library sign, by installing a brand new one that’s inspired by the Blue Tile Project, a project that is dedicated to documenting the blue tile art in Houston and preserving the history.
Luccia lives just three blocks away from the Heights library, and noticed the poor condition of the sign nearly every day. Eventually, he decided he’d do something about it.
“I turn on this corner a lot and I would see the sign, which was in pretty bad shape – beige on brown, hard to read, peeling apart and I thought we could really use a new sign,” Luccia said. “Being a part of the blue tile project, which is a part of Keep Houston Beautiful, I thought doing it in blue and white tiles would be very appropriate for the neighborhood. So once I got into the design portion of it, that’s how we got to this sign and we spent nights and weekends putting it together.”
A good amount of research went into the sign project, Luccia said. He ran into obstacles of figuring out how to construct a two-sided, free-standing sign out of tile – tile that doesn’t like movement. The sign also needed to be flexible, capable of withstanding freezing weather, but also the afternoon sun, which can get up to about 110 degrees. He had his work cut out for him.
“We had to do a bit of research on how to construct the sign with our materials, and then how to install the tiles, how to grout the tiles and how to make it all stay in the air,” he said. It took a fair amount of research.” When it came to the design, Luccia said that was the simple part.
“The letters that we used for the ‘The’ and the address are the actual font that is used throughout the neighborhood, courtesy of the blue tile project,” Luccia said.
“The font doesn’t have a name, as these fonts usually changed over times. The font for the ‘The Heights Library’ words are a font you can buy online called Subway, which is a conglomerate of a few fonts that looked appropriate for the genre and design.”
Luccia blew the typeface up on a projector, a tactic he notes he used because he’s “old school.” When it comes to reasoning why he tackled a project like this, Luccia said everyone has a craft and this just happens to be his.
“The sign was done to remind people that [the library] is here, and an active part of our community, but also to let people know that anyone can volunteer,” he said.