I never realized all that goes into the advertisements, signs, and billboards in Fredericksburg before undertaking the DesignBlitz this week. I went on a journey through all parts of town, searching for different mediums to individually represent four design elements. There were many options, but the clearest examples I could find include a movie poster, a billboard, an advertising sign, and the name of a retailer on the side of its store. I figured that it would be most effective to choose elements to represent from all that my journey exposed, instead of setting out to search for certain ones. This method worked very well!
This first element that I will identify, symbolism, is ideally used on a movie poster for the Disney movie, “Tomorrowland”. I had never heard of the movie before spying the poster, so it was a perfect chance to test the effectiveness of the symbolism. The poster contains no title or words to describe the movie. It only possesses a giant “T” and a symbol above it. I felt as if I was guessing the answer to a “One Story/Four Icons” assignment! It helped tremendously that the symbol above the “T” is widely recognized, as related to futuristic times and science. In fact, it is used in the television show, “Jimmy Neutron”, which I am very familiar with, from my childhood. It represents the complex idea of scientific advancement in the future. Although I prefer to have the name of the movie on the poster, I was able predict the basic plot of the movie, just based on the symbolism. Therefore, it was fairly effective.
The second concept, typography, is abundant in most advertisements. I saw a lot of examples that used type in an interesting way. However, this one example, not only uses it in an intriguing way, it also uses typography to relay a deeper meaning. The name of the company, “Businets”, already conveys that it is a business that helps with networking. However, this company’s use of typography on the billboard also stresses the letters “i” and “t” in the title of the company by making them yellow, significantly larger, and in lower case instead of all caps. These two letters together are an acronym for “information technology”, thereby highlighting a specific area of expertise. Even if a person driving by did not know of the company, the typography of the company’s name, as well as, the differing font sizes, yellow and white color combination, and use of capitalization and italics combine to convey what the company is all about.
Proportion, a third design element, is a very powerful tool. It is used to establish visual weight and relate the scale of one object to another. In this example, the “and That!” name on the sign stresses the word “That”, as it is larger in proportion to the word above it and has a capital “T” at the beginning and a tall exclamation point at the end. This design guides viewers in how to read the words, to accent the word in larger proportion. This company chooses to continue this trend with the announcement of a “Clearance Event”, with the word “Event” being larger in proportion to the word “Clearance”, drawing attention to the fact that an Event is much larger than, say, a “one-day sale”. The concept of proportion in this example conveys the message that shoppers will find all kinds of products in their store, including this “and That!”, as well as, deals worthy of an “event”.
For the design element, balance, I could not have found a more perfect example than the White House Black Market company name on the side of its building. The first two words are separated from the last two words by a vertical line, stressing balance on either side of the line and directing the reader as to which two words go together. In addition, the words “White” and “Black” contain the same number of letters (5) creating symmetry, and the words “House” and “Market” are approximately symmetrical, as well. The visual weight of each set of words is almost completely equal on either side of the line. It creates a sense of organization, which is fitting since the store sells professional clothing.
Going on this DesignBlitz, I gained a better understanding of the thought that goes into creating graphic design of all types. Who knew Fredericksburg could be so graphically diverse?