For the DesignPhiladelphia Festival guidebook this year, we asked four members of the design community to reflect on iconic design in the city – from places to objects. Virginia Gehshan, Principal at Cloud Gehshan Associates, writes about a memorable sign at Reading Terminal Market.
Drink Buttermilk and Live Forever
By Virginia Gehshan
You’ve probably passed it many times and not noticed it, sandwiched as it is between fruit and fish stands. It’s the “Drink Buttermilk and Live Forever” sign in the southeast quadrant of the Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch Streets). Another colorful fragment in an amazing place that is full of them, this sign reminds us of a simpler time when shopkeepers wrote their own taglines, designed their own signs and, quite possibly, hand cut the letters in their basements. Few modern retail signs can beat it for heart-on-the-sleeve enthusiasm and sheer charm.
Spataro’s Buttermilk was started in 1947. There were at least three buttermilk stands at the time as the beverage was riding a wave of popularity as a health drink. Domenic Spataro, Market patriarch, didn’t live forever, but he did live to the ripe old age of 94. Thanks are due to Reading Terminal Market managers for preserving this quaint piece of history even as the stall occupants change. If you are looking for the sign note that it’s in the stall occupied by soap store, Terralyn. Virginia Gehshan, Principal at Cloud Gehshan Associates. Branding, Wayfinding, Storytelling.