Give Me a Sign
|Institution:||University of Washington|
|Level:||Advanced, Graduate, Senior, Undergraduate|
|Category:||Environmental Design, Exhibit Design, Experience Design, Typography, Visual Communication|
|Filed Under:||3-D, Brainstorming, Collaboration, Experimental, Form-making, Four-year Program, Handmade, Integrative, Mapping, Multidisciplinary, Participatory, Signage, Wayfinding|
What is the definition of a sign?
What do signs do?
How do signs change a thing or place and the way we perceive it?
What is the most powerful sign you can remember, and why?
Determine a place / thing / situation where you feel a sign could help. Design a (temporary) sign, or signs. The sign must be designed for use somewhere in the public realm. Consider your target audience, who will use/see your sign(s). Fabricate your sign and document it in use.
Your sign(s) can be:
— something practical
— something directional
— something personal
— something informational
— something poetic
What is even more important about the content and design of the sign is where you put it and why. Signs mean very little without their proper context. And conversely, by moving an everyday sign somewhere new, you can change its meaning entirely.
— Your sign should reveal something. It can make a new connection.
— It can be a piece of information that you feel everyone should know.
— It can change people’s perception of a place or thing.
— The content/message is up to you.
— Your sign can stay flat or have dimensionality. It can include type, image, or simply be a shape.
— You can create one sign or a series of signs.
— For displaying and documenting your sign, you can hold it, or prop it, post it, attach it to an existing structure. You can design it to be used by someone else.
— It can be used static or in motion.
— Your sign needs to be designed for a particular place and audience.
— Develop a sense for designing and communicating in three-dimensional space
— Learn about interactivity and engaging your audience
— Collaborate effectively as a team, getting the best out of each team member
— Creating out in the public realm, learning to push beyond your comfort level, and have a good time doing it
1 Your physical sign(s)
2 Presentation PDF, horizontal 11x17” format. (No prescribed number of pages)
— Team member names should be included somewhere on the first page.
— Include a brief intro including photos of your selected location as it is normally.
— Include a series of photos of your sign in use. Include explanatory text/captions as needed. You can also include short video(s) if desired.
I was delighted to see the students getting off their screens, crafting physical pieces at scale and taking them out into the public realm. (It has been challenging to include any actual construction in my Exhibition Design class, so this was a good compromise: a brief where they could build real things at actual—but manageable—size.)
The opportunity for them to see the public reacting to their concepts in real time was also positive: the students brought back tales of their campus adventures installing their signs and watching public reaction and interaction, which became an integral part of their final presentations.
For the final results, the level of aesthetic refinement varied quite a bit (which may be expected with such a short project; this was essentially a warm up for the rest of the quarter). Next time I will build in a little more time for them to refine their final versions.