Designing signage inspired by Charles and Ray Eames

This task was part of our ongoing ‘Movement’ project where in groups we have to create an Art Movement. My groups movement, is about redesigning and restructuring information in a beautiful and accessible way. We were asked to visit the The World of Charles and Ray Eames exhibition at London’s Barbican and choose 3 items to visually analyse. When then had to combine them in some way to produce an item based on the themes of our Art Movement. 

The first item we chose was a set of hand written letters from the Eames' that had cuttings of coloured paper, little icons and neat handwriting. The Second Item was a musical tower. It was a vertical xylophone that played a tune as a ball dropped through it, bouncing down the coloured xylophone plates. We liked the interactive aspect as it provoked a sense of engagement. The third item we chose was the House of Cards. Pictured here, it was a card game that encourages played to construct a structure and have fun with the imagery. We liked how they had made a simple item unique and beautiful with the use of images. 

Eames' House of Cards game

We then took the 3 things we liked from the items and applied it to redesigning the signing across our campus. The current signage was outdated and confusing and we felt it could be more beautiful (like the house of cards), more interactive (like the musical tower) and easier to focus on (like the handwritten letters). 

We each created mockups for the signage, and here is mine. It uses the San Fransisco typeface from Apple as it is easy to read from a distance, and condensed so more information fit into a smaller space. Key rooms had colours, so for example; if you were looking for the Lecture Theatre, you can follow all of the blue signs. Just like Eames’ House of Cards, the signage features imagery and textures to further help viewers distinguish between locations. The images also make the signs more aesthetically pleasing to look at. 

On reflection I think the signage design was fairly successful. For the short timeframe I had, I felt I was able to show a variety of realistic and workable concepts. I learnt a lot about communication design as I had to visually analyse lots of way-finding signage beforehand. If I was to do this task again, I would experiment further so key content was even easier to focus on - as I feel some of the signs can look a bit confusing with information overload. I really enjoy working on this project as I was redesigning a signage system that I look at every day so it was much more personal and relatable than other tasks.

UALAdam Marshual, Eames, Signage, redesign