Week 2: Signage Research

Successful signs:


A simple and classic black and white palette, the butler in silhouette, the dominating decorative font, and the Sutton name all ring true for my associations of wealth and finery on the Upper East Side. 


I love the double play on the "G" here! What a clever way to combine graphics and text into a logo sign. Again a simple, two-tone contrasting palette focuses on the message without distraction.

Unsuccessful signs:


Contrary to this sign, that is in fact a bubble tea restaurant below the arrow, not Central Bar. The bar is actually located half-way down the block to the left, and walking under this sidewalk bridge at this particular point is not required for access.


This sign hangs in the newsstand across the street from the Tisch building. I thought chaotic cluttered confusion when I saw it, not clarity, consistency, and simplicity. I see no evidence of a grid to organize the content. Though items are bulleted, some are smushed together onto one line. The handwritten typography varies in size, spacing, and decorative style. It is however, mostly consistent in the use all caps, but as we discussed in class last week, studies show that this format is harder to read. The composition contains a couple of graphic gestures but not in any way that is uniform. The use and placement of color seems random, as well. With so many design elements off the mark, it presents the perfect opportunity for a redesign!


Sign Redesign:

To start I considered the audience: who uses newsstands in the city? Locals, sure, but also tourists from around the world. In addition to clarity, consistency, and simplicity, universality was also a goal. Since text dominated the original composition, I turned to the Noun Project for inspiration and searched for icons of similar weight and style. At first I combined the images with text (using a Helvetica typeface to match that of the newsstand), but it seemed redundant and not an efficient use of the space. In the end I ditched the words and settled on large, easy to see, evenly spaced icons organized into a grid and sorted by category: food and drink, communication and information, and over-the-counter drugs. (I initially intended to include a Metrocard for tourists, as well, but the newsstand does not sell them.) Finally, I filled the background with some of the blue from the frosted glass overhang to pull it into the stand's muted color story.

Image Credits from the Noun Project:
Cigarettes by Ed Harrison
Drug by Pundimon
Magazine by B Farias
Map by Adrien Coquet
Phone Card by Brian Jolin
Postage Stamp by Juraj Sedlák
Soda Can by Nick Bluth
Sweet by Christopher Smith
Water Bottle by Setyo Ari Wibowo