current writings on all things

Nice digits.

They may be mounted on your house, stuck on your mailbox, spray painted on your curb, or painted on your garage door. But the fact is, you have them and so do all of your neighbors. No, not Gerald your garden gnome—your house numbers.


I love typography and numbers. So it only seems natural for me to look at and analyze peoples’ house digits. These small but powerful pieces of communication combine both function and form.


People focus on many different aspects of their home, but forget about the style they can inject into their house numbers. This simple typographic selection is the first ‘branding’ of sorts that visitors will see upon arrival. Think of it as a logo for your house; the numbers your house sports can portray a variety of attributes about your household. Choose a geometric typeface like Neutra and your house may look modern; choosing to use spray painted numbers on the curb may show that you are apathetic or indifferent. Whatever the case, they will be seen by passers-by, visitors, and of course, the mailman.


House numbers not only show your personal style, but originated out of pure function. According to, the history of formal mail service in the United States dates back to 1639, when the state of Massachusetts established the first government-authorized drop-off point for mail. Today, the USPS delivers to more than 141 million homes and businesses every day. Without those numbers, this wouldn’t be possible.


So if they are large, small, brass, wood, backlit, painted or metal—house numbers must reflect your address and be visible on the front of your residence (unless, of course, you live in a Homeowners Association or neighborhood that specifies something different). The rest is open for interpretation,  so take some creative liberty and show some style. Are you due for a numberical makeover? Take a look the next time you pull into your driveway.


Justin Leatherman, Art Director