Makers & Hackers Day (Signage)

A while ago I volunteered to help out with material for the Makers & Hackers day and was asked to do the signage for the event.

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The brand for the event was designed by Matt Clough, so my job was really to work out where I could hang the signage and how I could use the brand within that space.

Signage is something that I enjoy, having experienced it before during my work for Creative Spark last year. I think the reason I enjoy it is that it’s a system, getting somebody from A to B, offering challenges regarding directing people who don’t know where they are without it. I think I also enjoy the challenge of using a physical space creatively (something I feel I had more scope to do with this project that I could during Creative Spark).  Thinking about this now, I feel it’s similar to one the reasons I enjoy interactive design, which is navigability. Only in this instance it’s directing people around a physical space rather than a virtual space.

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One of the challenges I enjoyed most about this project was how to direct people in the stairwell. The problems in this space are that there is a lot of wall space, meaning that unless you put something big on the wall it can easily look very lost, and that the walls are coated in non-stick paint, so what every you do hang up will fall down after sooner rather than later. I navigated around this issue by designing signage for the hand rail rather than the walls.

I decided on this as when turning left into the stairwell, your eyes fall naturally onto the handrail through the window (pictured below), meaning that  you already know where your going before you even walk through the door.

Door

One snag that I came across with this plan was that I initially intended to cover each flight of stairs with a single long sign. However, when the everything had been printed and cut, and I was in the process of hanging everything it became apparent that the space just wasn’t suitable for such a large sign. In fact, on of the three signs for this space got ruined when I was trying to hang it, which left me in a tight spot, given that there was no time to reprint. I got around this by dividing each of the remaining two signs into three pieces  that would cover the bottom two sections of each flight of stairs, which ultimately proved better aesthetically.

I think that when things go wrong it can often be a really exciting (and stressful) challenge to see how you can best fix and work around the problem. It’s often designing with very strict limitations, seeing what you can make by re-appropriating what you already have.

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This was only a small project, but I feel that it was beneficial for me in terms of learning how you can use a physical space, and just getting experience of designing something that’s actually going to be printed and used. Experience of actually solving a design problem rather than just doing so hypothetically. The work I did was well received, and although there are areas that I think I could have maybe done a little better, I’m more or less happy with what I produced.