Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 28

DESIGN MATTERS
JEFF

RUSS

THERE ARE NO WORDS
Pictograms pack a powerful punch.

HO has time to read anymore? In today's hectic,
fast-paced world, people
rarely have the inclination
to stop and scan verbose signage, no
matter how enticing they may be.
Enter the pictogram. Since ancient
times, when literacy rates were near
zero, shop owners have relied on icons
to depict the products and services

W

that they offer. This worked just fine,
until the advent of the printing press
(and schools) fostered a mass population of readers who demanded
more detailed information. Since
then, signs have become increasingly
wordy and densly packed with prose.
Finally, it seems, the pendulum is
swinging back.
Thanks to the social media generaPHOTO BY TESS HERRMANN

is ST's Senior Art Director.
Email him at jeff.russ@
stmediagroup.com. Just
FYI, giant lizard beats
giant robot every time.

tion, who rely less and less on words
(or, thanks to abbreviations required
for easier texting and Twitter's character limitation, can even agree on
things such as spelling and grammar),
designers have the freedom to use
fewer words, or no words at all. If a
design seems cluttered and crammed,
instead of sacrificing the central
image and increasing the font size,
designers have the very real option to
eliminate the words and focus on the
sign's core message. That message is
often better conveyed by the graphic
anyway.
SOUNDS OF SILENCE
It's one thing for a dentist's office to
display a giant tooth, or chiropractors
and optometrists to use pictograms
(see opposite page), but when even
off-premise signage gets in on the
act, you know it's a more than a trend.
Snapchat's recent Times Square takeover was a wordless excercise in branding at the highest level. Brightly colored
panels, juxtaposed with images
of models and the occasional logo,
seeped into the viewer's subconscious,
unencumbered by text. If Madison
Avenue executives with six-figure media
budgets consider words to be superfluous, who are we to second guess?

I'M SPEECHLESS Snapchat's multi-board, Times Square spectacular filled the

entire block with its colorful presence, no words required.

28

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

JUNE 2017

PICTURE'S WORTH
Everyone is familiar with the old
saying that "A picture is worth a
thousand words." It seems that, more
and more, in today's crowded, chaotic
marketplace, one picture may very
well be worth all the words.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - June 2017

Signs of the Times - June 2017
Contents
From the Editor
St Update
At Large
Tech Review
Vehicles + Vinyl
Design Matters
Nuts + Bolts
Trending Times Square
Smart Surroundings
Digital Sign Manufacturing
Strictly Electric: A Goodman Sign
New Products
Advertising Index
Last Look
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Intro
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - BB1
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - BB2
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Signs of the Times - June 2017
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - BD_L
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - BD
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Cover2
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 1
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Contents
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 3
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 4
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 5
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 6
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - From the Editor
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 8
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 9
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - St Update
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 11
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 12
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Signs of the Times - June 2017 - At Large
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Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 20
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 21
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Tech Review
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 23
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Vehicles + Vinyl
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 25
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 26
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 27
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Design Matters
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 29
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Nuts + Bolts
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 31
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 32
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 33
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 34
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Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Trending Times Square
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Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Smart Surroundings
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Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Digital Sign Manufacturing
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Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 57
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Strictly Electric: A Goodman Sign
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Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 62
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - 63
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - New Products
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Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Advertising Index
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Last Look
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Cover3
Signs of the Times - June 2017 - Cover4
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