Signs of the Times - January 2014 - (Page 96)

Ed it o r i a lly S p e aki n g By Steve Aust What's in a Name? Does SEGD's new descriptor signal a shift? S ince I joined the ST staff, I've been a member of SEGD. Until recently, that moniker meant Society for Environmental Graphic Design. "Environmental graphics" was a term I could readily identify. Environmental graphics entail myriad graphic applications - monument signs, ADA, wallcoverings, wayfinding, etc. - all of which define a built environment. In November, the organization changed its name to Society for Experiential Graphic Design. Come again? According to Merriam-Webster, "experiential" is simply an adjective that means "related to, derived from or providing experience." What does the term have to do with SEGD as an organization? SEGD trumpeted the change as "looking forward" in the early November press release that announced its new descriptor, which was ratified by its board of directors. Earlier, SEGD had modified its mission statement to include "experience design." Clive Roux, SEGD's CEO, described the transition to new media as impetus for the change: "Static visual communicatons work much like print, as a one-way, controlled process that delivers a message at a precise moment to help guide you in the environment. Digital technologies bring the potential for expanding from one-way instructional communication to the delivery of content and a two-way dialogue between the user and the technologies. Treated in a sensitive way, through design, it holds the potential to significantly improve the physical experience." Roux has considerable industrial-design experience. He holds a bachelor's degree for technology in industrial design, and previously worked as a product designer for Royal Phillips Electronics. Later, he led the Industrial Designers Society of America. Dynamic-digital signs' (DDS) market penetration is undeniable; their interactive, informative nature may enhance experiences. However, his assessment seems to discount "static" signage. Such signage can assume many forms: exterior, building-mounted letters whose material or finish could closely reflect a building's construction; an inkjet-printed wallcovering with imagery that provides warmth or context for its surroundings; intricately finished, CNC-routed or waterjet-cut signage or logos; and, of course, wayfinding and ADA-compliant signage and graphics, which provide an array of finishes, materials and textures. I'm not a Luddite: I know DDS' potential. Yet, no sign-industry product or service offers a panacea for all applications in all environments. Technology proffered simply for its own sake, or executed irrespon96 SIGNS OF THE TIMES January 2014 Steve Aust is ST's Senior Associate Editor. A member of its editorial staff since 2000, his work emphasizes vinyl graphics, architectural and environmental graphics, and 3-D signage. sibly, doesn't benefit our industry. Local-government bans on outdoor, electronic message centers underscore that all DDS types must be implemented carefully. SEGD members are more apt to specify interior displays, but any product misuse can lead to broad mistrust. The sign industry's DDS interest has flourished - note the Digital Signage Park at the last ISA Sign Expo - but, most want and need to know more about DDS and how to navigate abundant options. Deacon Wardlow's article on page 60 affirms this need. Again, how does this affect SEGD? Roux has said the organization "won't walk away" from any discipline within the realm of environmental graphics. I believe him. However, non-DDS designers, fabricators and vendors active in the organization must stay involved to ensure an equal place at the table. If you don't speak, your voice won't be heard. SEGD and ISA are collaborating on many fronts (and will do so again at April's Sign Expo), and the abundance of shared information and documentation between designers and fabricators has yielded better finished products. I've learned about everything from ADAregulation updates to choosing materials at the SEGD annual conferences and regional events I've attended. I'm not alone in wondering about the name change and its significance. On SEGDTalk, its e-mail Listserve, most who commented were critical of the name change. Many comments could be summarized as, "I just got my clients to understand 'environmental' graphics; how do I explain 'experiential?'" Some also griped that the move was made with little communication to rank-and-file members. In 10 years, "experiential" may be as ubiquitous a term as "hashtag." But, it currently seems like an overreach to appear trendy and forward-thinking. I'll remain active, and will focus on finding common ground rather than differences with fellow members. However, I want SEGD to advocate and educate equitably for all in the field. That's part and parcel of any effective organization. Still, there is precedent for industry-organization changes following a new name. In 2003, the Screenprinting & Graphic Imaging Assn. (SGIA) changed its name to the Specialty Graphic Imaging Assn. Anyone who's been to an SGIA show since can attest that screenprinting equipment has taken a back seat to its inkjet brethren. n

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - January 2014

Signs of the Times - January 2014
ST Update
Technology Update
Large-Format Design Strategies
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review - Agfa’s Jeti Titan X
Technology Review - Polytype’s NQ32 UV hybrid printer
Design Matters
New Products
Industry News
GableSigns’ Casino Signs
Dynamic Digital Signage Made Simple
Building Street Cred
Modern Sign Engineering
Advertising index
Editorially speaking

Signs of the Times - January 2014