Signs are a form of communication in our society and civilization, they warn us, alert us, and help us stay safe from harm. They help navigate and simplify our lives, well, if they are done right. If not, they can cause problems, sending us the wrong way, having us stare at them too long, which causes challenges in driving, riding a bike, or maneuvering to our intended lane, or destination, it matters, just think about that.
Think about parking structures, signs for elevators, bathrooms, food, or office directories. How about Corporate Logo signage, drive-through arrows, and the time it takes to read a sign and then act upon that information while driving down the freeway?
There is a lot of planning and designing that goes into signage, a lot more than you think, and this was originally brought to my attention at our Online style Think Tank by one of our visiting members, who recommended this very good book to me to read – the name of the book is:
“Architectural Signing and Graphics,” by John Follis and Dave Hammer, published by Architectural Press Ltd., London, 1979, pp. 232, ISBN: 0-85139-060-9.
One of the authors John Follis created the signage for the Los Angeles Bicentennial and for Disney World, and was a major pioneer in the revolutionary changes in the industry. David Hammer had worked with Sears, Bank of America, and many other top corporations designing all of their building signage, and an incredible photographer.
What a great book indeed, with information and consideration of the real human factors involved in signage, language, and time to decipher while driving or moving. There is also project analysis and planning topics discussed and debated. Fabrication and materials, as well as longevity is also talked about. There are examples from well over 25 designers of modern signage systems. How the use of common symbols, alphabet also work for Hospitals (H), Parking (P), or Airport (A).
Now then this is a large illustrated book and the authors have written research papers, and studied uncountable others. Although it was written and produced some 30+ years ago, it gives us all a reality and history check, it’s amazing how many examples in this book, and ideas are common place today, I mean the sign concepts for the future in this book can be seen everywhere in Europe, China, Australia, South America, the US, Canada, Mexico, and all across the Middle East and African Continent.
You will learn about typography, cultural issues to be accounted for in design, and the use of fonts, and how associations and industries must work together to standardize. How the EU, USA, and other neighboring nations must work together to build consistency, and there is talk about royalty payments for designers, and international symbol usage. Learn how to implement, design, and supervise a large project with signs spanning many sectors, nations, and industries.