Signs of the Times - January 2013 - (Page 54)

Scenes from the Global Village A gallery of signage from across the seas By Steve Aust In 1926, in(aanlost relic fromColliers interview for magazine the golden age of artfully written, general-interest magazines), scientific pioneer Nikola Tesla (far too often overlooked for his innovations with electricity, he unfortunately died penniless in a NYC hotel) first articulated the notion of a global village: “When wireless is perfectly applied, the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole.” The idea further germinated with Marshall McLuhan’s uncanny cultural observations. His forecast of the modern era, in which “the medium becomes the message,” has come to fruition. He coined the phrase “global village” and popularized it in his books, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964). However, McLuhan’s vision counters many peoples’ idyllic visions of harmonious, seamless international commerce. Rather, he envisions diversity – and, in many cases, discord – because giving voice to more perspectives dictates that formerly unquestioned perceptions and beliefs will be challenged, and dissenting points of view must be considered. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t look across borders to gain ideas, or even grow an organization or business. But, you must be prepared to dispense with preconceived notions, and withstand turbulence en route. My high-school history teacher disputed the concept of the American “melting pot.” I agreed with him that the notion – that the coalescence of many differing cultures would yield one, monolithic megaculture, with indistinct, interchangeable parts – seemed a bit far-fetched. He thought “hash” a more fitting analogy; it’s one dish, but many, disparate flavors and textures are present (if you know me, you know I’ll always find an appropriate food analogy). Similarly, signage and environmental graphics present one destination with many connecting routes. A physical place or thing, whether it’s a park, hotel, restaurant or museum, requires a graphic treatment that both identifies it and provides suitable ambience. And, undeniably, regional or national cultural sensibilities will influence how a message is transmitted to an audience. ■ 54 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / JANUARY 2013 /

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - January 2013

Signs of the Times - January 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Design Matters
New Products
Scenes from the Global Village
Crane Truck Safety Advice
Supreme Wrap
The Value of Signs
Industry News
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - January 2013