New Logo, Deep History

Your Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association decided recently that it’s time for a little visual refresh, and we are happy to share with you the newly adopted logo for our organization.

HVNA’s new logo references our shared civic heritage with a playful evocation of San Francisco’s iconic street signage. The large white rectangular plates with bold black text date back to the late 1940s. For those first few years, the city sign shop stamped street identifiers using a bespoke set of lettering, a typeface without a name.

That’s where I come in. I’m one of the de-facto historians and board members at HVNA. I’m also a typographer, and back in 2021 I built out a careful revival of this lost street sign lettering style, and named it Fog City Gothic. When conversations began at the board a few months ago about refreshing our association’s identity, I was honored to find out that there was interest in using this lettering. A group effort came together to set the text and decorate it with a thin rounded outline, suggesting a street sign.

The result is both contemporary and rooted in the history of the city, entirely appropriate for our neighborhood. After all, Hayes Valley is actually one of the oldest named places in San Francisco! The name was already in use in the early 1850s when it was wholly the property of one Thomas Hayes, and the title was possessive: “Hayes’ Valley.” The area was sparse ranchland located beyond the city’s original boundaries, but San Francisco expanded quickly, and within a couple decades the neighborhood as we know it was largely built out.

Much has happened here since then, and HVNA celebrates connections to our past. We commemorate the 1906 earthquake and fire with our annual Ham & Eggs breakfast. In the summers we’ve revived the Hayes Valley Carnival of 1911 as an annual opportunity for families and neighbors to come together for entertainment and delight.

Our new logo is another small moment of connection to the past, in this case our city’s iconic visual language. HVNA remains proud of its past, does work in the present, and looks to the future— here in our most special part of San Francisco.

Ben Zotto

Hayes Valley, SF, 2024.