Signs of the Times - August 2016 - (Page 104)
Ed it o r i a lly S p e aki n g
By Robin Donovan
is ST's Editor-inChief. Email her at
Why I Deleted My Last Column
And replaced it with this
'm writing this at midnight - or 3 a.m. EDT, my laptop
informs me. I should be finishing a feature, one that
is now past a polite overdue point and into a red zone.
However, I can't take my eyes off Google News,
Twitter, Facebook and the incessant reports of shooting
after shooting, atrocity after atrocity. The Reuters photo
of the woman who stood her ground ... the video protesters who crossed lines, literally and figuratively, to
momentarily forget about #blacklivesmatter and #alllivesmatter and, instead, embrace one another.
I swear off Facebook, then return for another look.
I draft posts only to delete them. What is one more
voice, mine, in a swirl of outrage and protest? What is
one more white voice?
Ram Dass, a funky old spiritual guru famous for his
wisdom and his wild youth, once wrote a letter to a
grieving couple after the death of their daughter. He
said, "Our rational minds can never understand what
The All-Nite Images; flickr.com
New York City
104 SIGNS OF THE TIMES August 2016
has happened, but our hearts - if we can keep them
open ... will find their own intuitive way."
That's the best explanation I've come up with so
far. But the quote, despite its beauty, is still more of
a salve than a solution.
Full disclosure: I took a religious word out of that
quote to make it 100% impossible to argue with.
I'm sick of arguments. And shootings. And videos of
bloody protesters and the bloody signs reflecting a
passion that makes silence seem worse and worse.
One Oregon sign read, "Silence is violence."
Earlier, I wrote words to fill this space. It was the
one thing I did ahead of time this month. I am discarding those words. Instead, I remember the words
on the protester's signs. In the photographs, their
voices are silent, but their messages coin phrases
destined for history.
Let's lay down political affiliations and the messy mix
of fear and passion they arouse. Let's come together on
a single point: Signs are more than corporate logos and
artful taglines. We make such a point in ST to offer
on-the-ground information, reporting the what-and-how's
of signmaking, down to the last bevel and ballast.
However, for a moment, with no commercial
inspiration, I'm in awe of signs: their power to convey
a complex message, their immediacy, their ubiquity
in these protests.
A sign, whether professionally designed or scribbled
onto a piece of posterboard, is a rare vehicle for communicating - today, it's self-expression in protest. We
don't simply see photos of assembled protesters; we
see them standing together, holding signs. Each sign
is a bow to human courage, solidarity and ingenuity.
It's all there, the best qualities of America made
public despite hesitation, fear, pain, ugliness - and
Today, like yesterday, your doors will swing open
for customers. But, hopefully you've come away from
the latest news with a deeper respect for what you
create, and a new understanding for how signage - in
all its forms - fits into this national picture.
It's a small thing, to appreciate one's industry,
given all the crashing changes around us. But it's not
really about self-pride. It's about finding your - our
- place in what's happening; acknowledging unequal
rights but shared fears. That is the tenuous thread
that still remains, holding us together. n
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - August 2016
Signs of the Times - August 2016
Why You Should Invest in a Color-Management Device
Technology Review - Epson SureColor S80600
Technology Review - The AXYZ Trident
Sign Museum News
Writing on the Wall
Dostoevsky and the Crane Truck
Penn State Study Assesses Font Legibility
A Crossroads Celebration
Signs of the Times - August 2016