The Good, the Bad and the Funny

Typography

Stop

This (counting as one) is a photo showing two stop signs on the same road (Alvey Drive). The sign on the right looks like a traditional stop sign, while the sign on the left is stylized. The traditional stop sign has the sanserif type font which is clear, bold and easy to read. The stylized stop sign uses a serifed font that is, to me, kind of distracting and even a little faint, which aren’t qualities you would want in something designed to prevent pedestrians from being run over. In Typography for Lawyers by Matthew Butterick, he makes the point that there’s a difference between changing the font, and changing the typography (here). This is an excellent example of that, as the stylized version looks more elegant (I guess, I mean…it’s a stop sign) but gives the impression that you’re heading into a respectful, well-to-do environment. The real kicker, the reason I’m pretty sure my analysis is correct, is when you’re coming IN to the parking lot, you’re greeted by the stylized signs and when you’re going OUT of the parking lot you’ve got the practical, “please don’t run me over, I like my legs,” sign. My guess for this comes down to high school students coming in for tours or open houses – and the university’s desire to make a good first impression.

Color Theory

Got Junk

I know this isn’t a great picture vis-a-vis lighting, I was taking while driving and eating mozzarella sticks, but I saw it and knew it would have a place in here. So, there are a few things we could talk about (that question mark is a dumb, but necessary evil, change my mind), but I’m going to focus on color. In her Intro to Color Theory video, Karen Kavett talks about how to choose different colors that won’t clash. While not complimentary colors, the blue and green here are different “values” so their unsaturated colors will be different hues of gray. Not 100% sure what all that means, but presumably that video is for someone with slightly more experience with design. Either way, it works here, and the neutral white for the phone number on the darker background provides great, practical contrast. There’s also this color emotion guide (source) that tells us that blue evokes the feelings of trust, dependability and strength. I feel like all companies would want to evoke trust, but for a company hauling large heavy things, dependability and strength are definite musts.

Form/Function/Message

Forester

The resources for this assignment were more focused on mechanical design, but I’ve thought this was funny for awhile so I want to take this opportunity to share it. This is one of the logos on my Subaru Forester (duh). Subaru (the SUV department anyways) has worked hard to market themselves to the outdoorsy, active but environmentally conscious types. This branding is evidenced by the name of the model, Forester, as well as some of their other models like Outback and Ascent. It also has this “pze” designation saying its fuel efficient, and here’s where the branding gets sorta funny. It’s tiny print, but what “pze” stands for is “partial zero emissions.” A complete definition can be found here, but in my mind, you can’t have a part of zero. If you don’t have zero emissions, then you just have emissions no matter how low lol. But of course, there needs to be a designation that says my car is less crappy for the environment than a 2004 Chevy Silverado, I just think its funny. But yeah, the message is what matters here and I’m sure that no matter what comes before it, the phrase “zero emissions” sells.

Dominance

High Sign

Here we can see what professionals call a “tall ass sign.” This website discusses what creates dominance IN a visual design, but what about creating dominance WITH a visual design? I’m not focusing on the colors or typography of the sign – they’re both badly faded anyways so unless the intent was for them to age horribly, they’re pointless now anyways. I’m focusing on the concept of physically elevating a logo so high off the ground that it has nothing to compete with for your attention, thus attaining dominance by default. These types of signs are frequently seen off the highways, as indicators to commuters where stuff is. On surface streets this height probably actually works against it, as its height at a distance will be negated by normal height signs closer to the observer, and up close it’s too damn tall to look up and see while driving. I knew this one was there so I found it, but driving around town I never notice this particular CP sign.

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