#301, Arlington Heights, IL
Out in the suburbs, you don't see too many of those "rugged individualist" numbers Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about. (What? He wasn't talking about typography?) It's not a slam on suburbia or a commentary on the homogenous strip-mall existence to point out that frankly, it's easier for most folks to hop in the car and roll on up to the Home Depot to get their house numbers than go around tinkering with metallurgy. So when I do spot a bit of ingenuity like this crooked 301, I have to give props to the invisible hand that hammer-and-nailed this into the brick side of a house. It gets points for quirkiness and class, unlike the oversized hardware store "HIS" and "HERS" lettering that graced our next-door neighbor's garage for years and years -- all the more heinous as the store was out of "I"s so the actual text read: H1S and HERS. But this 301 gets it just right.