Martin Treu (Chicago) is the author of Signs, Streets, and Storefronts: A History of Architecture and Graphics Along America’s Commercial Corridors, published in September 2012 by The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Signs, Streets, and Storefronts focuses on more than 200 years of signs and place-marking along America’s commercial corridors, from small-town squares to Broadway, State Street, and Wilshire Boulevard. Treu considers "common" architecture and its place-defining business signs as well as influential high-style design examples by taste-making leaders. Combining advertising and architectural history, the book presents a full picture of the commercial landscape, including design adaptations made for motorists and the migration from Main Street to suburbia.
“As an environmental graphic designer and an architect, this is a book I've been wanting to see for a very long time,” says Treu. “It examines not only how sign design has evolved over the years, but studies the ever-changing relationship between graphics and architectural design. It's been a labor of love.” The book was sponsored by the Graham Foundation.
The American Association of Publishers recently recognized Signs, Streets, and Storefronts with its Prose Award, one of only three given to works on architecture and design.