Signs of the Times - July 2013 - (Page 52)

Public Displays of Affection Temporary or permanent, exhibit graphics compel. By Steve Aust I’m not sureStephen Covey Dale if I read it in a Carnegie or selfimprovement book, or simply absorbed sage advice from my elders, but I learned that, to make a positive impression, you have to understand your environment. You can’t interact or behave the same way in church as you would during a Saturday-night outing with friends. Many overly permissive parents might give kids the impression that anything goes anywhere at any time (that’s a topic for another article – and another publication), but most respect social mores. The interwoven components of signage and environmental graphics reflect this. Designers are indoctrinated that certain colors and typefaces are better suited to specific environments. An ebullient script typeface wouldn’t properly serve patients and loved ones frantically searching for an emergency room, and blunt, utilitarian Helvetica wouldn’t attract customers into an upscale retail boutique. A sign’s window of opportunity to make an impression is fleeting; it will only be seconds before a motorist – or, at best, minutes for a pedestrian – decides to move on. Exhibit graphics also reflect this limited window of opportunity, but with variations. A tradeshow graphic must compete against dozens, if not hundreds, of other booths in a bustling convention hall, so it must deliver striking colors, graphics, layout and placement to grab attention. An exhibit or display in a 52 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / JULY 2013 / retail or institutional environment occupies an intermediate level of immediacy; the viewer has already chosen to be there, but the display must disrupt their course of action and draw them in. A museum display functions at a deeper level; observers have already chosen to engage with an exhibit, and the graphics provide a more in-depth interpretation of the space. Advocating that one is intrinsically better than another is like saying a fleet-footed leadoff hitter is more or less vital to a baseball team’s success than a broad-shouldered slugger batting cleanup. Each exhibit-graphic variety performs a different function; when executed properly, they both provide effective promotion. ■

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

Signs of the Times - July 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Design Matters
New Products
Vehicle Graphics Contest Entry Form
Public Displays of Affection
Electric-Sign Company 1 on 1’s
Screenprinting for Signmakers
A Century of Going Places
Industry News
Advertising index
Editorially speaking

Signs of the Times - July 2013