Friday, 20 November 2009

UK Cycle Lanes

Constructing meaning from visual images The cycle lane symbol was first defined in the UK's Traffic Sign Regulations in 1982 but since then it has been open to interpretation but sign painters. This has resulted in alot of variation for the cycle lane sign. As I walked down the street I never before realised the variation as they all have the same chacteristics and it has become such a well known sign we simply see the general shape and overlook the details. I think this shows a great strength in the ability of signs and symbols.

- UK cycle lane paintings, documented by Phil Carter

The Elephant's Memory

Constructing meaning from visual images The Elephant's Memory created by Timothee Ingen-Housz was created with the intention of being used to replace written text, a universal pictorial language .he name "The Elephant's Memory" plays on the fact that a huge amount of people would need to learn and remember all they symbols and their meanings for it to be successful. I don't think it works very well as I can't understand most of the symbols on their own, and when placed together to form a sentence I find it even harder!

- The Elephant's Memory, Timothee Ingen-Housz

- "Seeing elephants shot by men makes me cry" sentance using The Elephant's Memory


Constructing meaning from visual images When computers became more accessible, the emoticon appeared. It was a way of informing others of the tone of voice of a particular section of text. The letterforms and glyphs are used to create an image to represent a facial expression, acting as a visual metaphor. We can communicate a whole range of emotions through emoticons such as anger, happiness, shocked etc...

- sample of Emoticons, created around the 1980's

Flight Safety

Constructing meaning from visual images I think these oxygen mask instructions are quite funny in how varied they are. All of them appear as information graphics and have an instruction manual feel to them. I think it is interesting how most using an arrow have chosen red, to demonstrate an order. Most of these message are clear to understand and we would know what to do, but some leave alot to the imagination such as the first in the middle row which just shows the mask attached and an arrow. Some just make me smile, such as the woman with a chin to put Desperate Dan to shame at the end of the top row, and the other woman who seems to be suffocating from her oxygen mask, bottom right, how ironic.

- Range of flight safety symbols from different airlines

Golden Record

Constructing meaning from visual images When I came across this, I was amazed. In 1977, the "Golden Record" was sent into outer space with 2 space probes, The Golden Record was intended to communicate the story of earth and human existence to extraterrestrials. Jon Lomberg designed a series of silhouetted images to go with the Golden Record. I think they work really well to us and we can understand the meaning. However, when it come to extraterrestrials... that might be another story. Symbols work for us as we can relate them to things, but these little green aliens surely wont have the same understanding and won't be able to relate them to anything.

- Jon Lomberg silhouette images sent with the Voyage Space Probe


Constructing meaning from visual images Favicons are those tiny images displayed in the address bar of your internet oage. They are designed as a support for the webpage you are on and also be shown in your favourites or bookmarks. When seen on its own, if it is one we use regularly or a well known brand/site we should instantly recognise it. it should work as a visual synecdoche.

- range of Favicons found on


Constructing meaning from visual images Traffic warning signs are easily understood by the public and help us to be safe on the roads. The effectively communicate things we should be aware of on the roads and most of the time we just need to glance at them to understand the message. Traffic signs use visual synecdoche to show a small aspect to represent a larger concern. By just showing an aeroplane doesn't automatically say "low flying aircraft" but we have come to know that is the message being communicated.

- sample of UK roadsigns

- Exeter August 2000, Interdimensional Pixie Broadcast Network


Constructing meaning from visual images Even corporate identities can be recognised by a simple and effective image. Many brands simply use symbols as their logo. This just shows the power of imagery and suggestion.

- successful image logos


Constructing meaning from visual images These washing symbols give us important and useful information in a clear way. They represent the tool to be used and how. They are easy to understand and are informative.

- washing symbols

Men at work

Constructing meaning from visual images These men at work signs have been collected from all over the world and demonstrate how different cultures have slight differences in terms of visual communication. All of them use visual synecdoche to communicate but all have differences. Variations can be seen in the size of mound, posture and amount of effort being applied.

- a range of international "Men at work" signs


Images which effectively communicate a message to an audience I think this is a really clever piece of design. The creator has incorporated a range of different messages into one piece and can choose the appropriate one depending on who it is being sent to. This is very economical and looks cool as well! It demonstrates an effective way of communicating different messages to different audiences.

- Letterhead for Nicholas Wurr, Nick Wurr 1977 (UK)

Language of Modern Music

Images which effectively communicate a message to an audience These musical notes interpreted as speech marks is very effective at communication "The Language of Modern Music" through using visual metaphor. Even if the title wasn't there, I reckon some people may understand they message of the imagery.

- Cover for Faber paperback, Pentagram 1983 (UK)


Images which effectively communicate a message to an audience I love this. I think it works on the principle "sex sells" but in this case it is more of a tease. It draws comparison between the old and the modern by dressing the woman in a victorian looking outfit, it looks old. When teamed with the realisation the photographer must have been using a standard film it is tarred with the same brush. This works well with being mostly an image based mailshot and it is very clever and effective. I think it communicates very effectively with the target audience, and even people outside of this would appreciate the wit.

- Direct mail for Ilford, PLN Partners 1974 (UK)

Picasso Exhibition

Images which effectively communicate a message to an audience Instantly we can tell that this poster is for a Picasso exhibition. I love how simple it is and how our mind reads and interprets these messages. The exhibition for Picasso's lithograohs, drawings and sculptures are summed up i one word and it is so effective.

- Picasso Exhibition Poster, George Tscherny (USA)


Images which effectively communicate a message to an audience This piece of design uses visual metonym to communicate the video and electronic elements to the "VideoEX" international experimental film and video competition held in Zurich. This is effective in communicating the message to an intended audience by using imagery which is common and of interest to them. Even though I am not a video geek, I appreciate this piece for the interesting colours and lines. I love lines and electronic looking things, the more I look at this, the more I like it.

- Poster for "VideoEX", Martin Woodtli (Switzerland)

UK Art Exhibition

Images which effectively communicate a message to an audience This poster was designed for an exhibition of British art in Berlin, however the designers for this were from Berlin... the mind boggles.

- UK Art Exhibition Poster, Cyan (Germany)

Celebrating the Poster

Images which effectively communicate a message to an audience "Celebrating the Poster" Poster draws on the characteristics of street posters and the way they begin to peel after time. I think it is really interesting how the imagery and text work together to create the letterforms. It is a really clever piece of design which looks simple, but is actually quite complex. The audience immediately can tell what the message is and the imagery helps with this.

- Poster "Celebrating the Poster", Philippe Apeloig (Client USA)


Images which effectively communicate a message to an audience This poster is made up of every date in the past 2000 years. The designer, Siobhan Keaney says "I worked on this poster over a number of days... I set about filling the space with the dates... and the structure emerged naturally". I really like the idea behind this piece, and once we know the background we can appreciate it for a piece of Graphic Design and an effective way of communicating the message of the Millennium. However, without this background information, it is just a load of numbers randomly placed. It's a shame as I really like it and want it on my wall to look at and think what has passed and what else is left to come.

- Millennium Poster, Siobhan Keaney (UK)


Images which effectively communicate a message to an audience I really like the idea behind this poster, but feel like the text takes on a prominant role, which I feel doesn't live up to the concept. When I first saw this poster, I loved it. But the more I look at it, the more unimpressed I am. If I was to look at this as a member of the general public or the intended audience, I don't think I would instantly know it was for an Architectural Exhibition if it wasn't for the text at the side, which is fine as it is there for this purpose. However, I keep getting the feeling that the designer was trying to communicate that through "Chicago" and I'm just not getting that message. Granted, it was designed in 1987, so maybe that has something to do with the communication.

- Chicago poster for Architecture Exhibition, Philippe Apeloig (France)


Images which effectively communicate a message to an audience The text and imagery work really well together here and it must be a romantic play. Boca means "mouth" and so the designer has chosen an extreme close-up for the supporting imagery using visual metaphor. I think Play lovers would read this message of this play effectively.

- Boca stage play poster, R2 Design (Portugal)

Tadanori Yokoo

Interpreting images from different cultures and the past I found this image on a blog called A Journey Round My Skull. I had found an image by the same designer in a book "Type Images Message" and wanted to find more. I think Tadanori Yokoo's style is amazing and would still work today. I love the idea of paint by numbers. Symbols such as the rising sun are prominent and bring warmth to this poster.

- Tadanori Yokoo, Poster for "16th exhibition of Japan advertising artist club" 1968 (Japan)

Franco Grignani

Interpreting images from different cultures and the past I kind of like this poster, even though I don't understand the message I find it intriguing. I like the colours and the way the type almost becomes an image in its own right.

- Franco Grignani, Poster for "Alfieri and Lacroix typo-lithographers" 1960 (Italy)

Joseph Muller-Brockman

Interpreting images from different cultures and the past
However much I like this poster,the only message I am getting from it is that is it clean and simple. The colours do not shout anger or passion, but simplicity. And teamed with the straight lines and clear typeface it is even more prominent that is the message. I do like it as a piece of Graphic Design and like how it can portray these things without any imagery. However it would be more effective to me if I could understand the words.

- Joseph Muller-Brockman, Poster for "Tonhalle Gesellschaft" 1955 (Switzerland)

Ludwig Hohlwein

Interpreting images from different cultures and the past - The Nazi symbol is pretty prominent on this image and when teamed with the Nazi font "Fraktur" makes us realise it was from the era of Hitler. The Bauhaus was shut down at this time as it was believed they were too revolutionary. This image is pretty regressive for its time if we compare it to the kind of designs being produced elsewhere.

- Ludwig Hohlwein, Poster "Reichs Sports Day for the Accociation of German Girls" 1934 (Germany)

F.H. Stingemore

Interpreting images from different cultures and the past - If we look at this London Underground Map compared to the one we know today there are some massive differences demonstrating how UK design has changed and been influenced by the progression in other cultures such as Bauhaus.

- F.H Stingemore, London Underground Map 1931 (UK)

Savile Lumley

Interpreting images from different cultures and the past - The UK was not as progressive as much of the rest of the world in terms of design. We were still stuck on family values and the comfortable family home images. Even though this image by Savile Lumley and the Peter Behren image below are communication different messages, they are both targeting a similar audience. This demonstrates how our different cultures viewed design and how the messages were read. However, I still think it is an effective piece of design as it involves the audience and talks directly to them.

- Savile Lumley, Poster campaign for World War I "Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?" 1915 (UK)

Peter Behrens

Interpreting images from a range of cultures and the past - Alot of emphasis is upon the bulb in this advertisment. The one light is brightening the poster and your eyes follow the lines of smaller bulbs around the page. If you see (above) the stage of design in the UK it is very different to that of the German design scene. Behrens has used a simple design to promote the product and I think it is a successful piece of forward thinking design for its time.

- Peter Behrens, Advertisement for AEG metallic filament lightbulb, 1907 (Germany)