These projects are my diploma theses called Graphic Design in Public Space. It’s about city visual pollution, advertising and graphic design nature inside cities. For me, visual pollution is not a secret term for a small group of designers, it’s a huge problem that shapes and defines our perception every day. It has negative effect on our orientation and it can ruin a communication potential of shops too. My intent was to find a way to define the problem of visual pollution in my hometown and find a way to improve the situation. The projects were created at TBU in Zlin.
Deadly Diseases of Shop Signs
On the basis of my theoretical studies, I created this set of “diseases” that kill every shop presentation and causes the visual pollution. It’s a simple guide how to recognize the visual pollution at the same time. Click on the centered pic to get more info about each point. I used these points for judging shop presentations in my hometown and created the Visual Pollution Map.
Visual Pollution Map
This Map was created to show that the problem of visual pollution can be described in more objective way than “It’s ugly.” I judged every shop in very hectic shopping zone in the centre of the Brno city (Czech republic). The following geo map shows the detail of the historical city centre with the red shopping zone from the Main Trainstation to another important public transport point. The rounded map in an infographics that shows all of the 236 shops in the red zone – the left half is for the left side of the street, the right half represents the other side. One column contains points for one shop, the houses are marked with gaps in the circle line. The Map is about shop signs and shop presentations only, the OOH advertising is separated in another part.
After creating the Map, I counted the points to define the major problems. The most common diseas was information chaos and lack of conception for presenting the most important things – not the aesthetics or design itself. Another problem was the epidemic of signs and disrespect to architecture and facade.
The whole street is visually very agressive despite the fact that there are almost no out-of-home (OOH) advertising signs – most of the separated external signs are in front of the Main Trainstation. That’s why the Map is dedicated to the shop signs and the OOH ads are described in this separated group with a little bit different criteria (the eye icon symbolises element that’s blocking a view in a street).
Resuscitation of the Brno City
In the end, I found the winner – the house with the highest score of the most serious points. The worst and the best shops were often “gathered” in one house, it shows that the house owner has a huge impact on the whole situation too. This “champion” house won this digital resuscitation.
I retouched these photos to create “visual vulgarisms” because I think that’s the thing we are forced to see every day. I believe that if these words on shop signs were real, people would protest and refuse to remain silent consumers. They wouldn’t want their children to see these things and learn from them. When it comes to aesthetics, people seem much more tolerant. I think these shop presentations have the same devastating effect on people as vulgarisms. It infects the culture of public spaces generally and it shapes our perception to prefer economy to any other value. Comments from the research are available on click.
All the theoretical stuff can be found in my diploma book. It starts with a research of retail design in Belgium where I studied for one year (LUCA School of Arts). This part is followed by visual pollution projects research and sections about history and urban planning in my hometown Brno. The practical part consists of making of the Visual Pollution Map, digital resuscitation, visual vulgarisms and experimental solution of the situation. These text are available in Czech language only.