Placemaking and Identity Research

SEGD C+P Journal Victoria Baird
08/09/2017

Making the Invisible Visible was a project that surveyed recent examples of alternative exhibit spaces and methods that have been successfully utilized by parks, museums and event organizers. Making the Invisible Visible was a project that surveyed recent examples of alternative exhibit spaces and methods that have been successfully utilized by parks, museums and event organizers.

SEGD C+P Journal University of Houston
08/08/2017

EGD is a valuable tool for beginning graphic design students to gain awareness of the direct relationship between design and place/community. Two of our lower level seminars, Art of Walking and Text in the Landscape, aim to achieve this.

SEGD C+P Journal KT Meaney
08/08/2017

Collaborating with the non-profit Groundwork Cincinnati Mill Creek, students proposed a sign system along a major industrial riverfront — the Mill Creek — for its current and future trail system

Social Engagement through Environmental Graphic Design:  Design for Struggling Small Communities
10/12/2015

Struggling downtowns and retail districts of small cities and towns have been completely overlooked by graphic designers, since these independent businesses often cannot afford, or aren’t aware of, the services of designers. In the graphic design department at Iowa State University, we see this problem as an excellent opportunity to engage our students in community-based design. For over 15 years, our senior graphic design students have been introduced to Environmental Graphic Design while working on the re-design of a downtown district--engaging with communities to reinvigorate their retail districts in efforts to enhance the quality of life for local residents.

KNOWHERE: Finding Ways to Teach Wayfinding
10/28/2014

Samantha Perkins
Miami University (Ohio)

ABSTRACT
Breadcrumbs. Wayfinding, an amazing tool, deals with providing navigational “breadcrumbs” to travelers, helping them find their way between locations. Speaking the language of space, information, shape, and form, wayfinding addresses the communication of information within the realms of graphic design, architecture and interior design. But sometimes problems in clear communication arise, especially when the behavioral aspects of human navigation are overlooked. Luckily, we can address these issues early... Assuming we rethink the current wayfinding education model, and teach beyond the book.

By considering issues of navigation behavior, we can establish a wayfinding education model that seeks to help explain the how and the why behind navigation, regardless of the ultimate where. But how do we teach behavior and context in the static environment of a standard classroom? KNOWHERE, an immersive education model designed to teach wayfinding in a more hands-on manner, uses graphic design to establish educational events that communicate ideas of design elements in an immersive context and environment. Through the use of exhibit design and mobile studio equipment, the KNOWHERE model pulls students out of their chairs and immerses them in the world of wayfinding in ways that encourage exploration and creative analysis.

Bridging EGD: Introducing Communities to the Potentials of Environmental Graphic Design
10/28/2014

Justin Molloy
The University of Oklahoma

ABSTRACT
This paper discusses the potential for environmental graphic design (EGD) in emergent and small communities where both EGD and the value of design are unknown. When designers arrive in a community for the first time, they tend to notice things other people do not. Things like how information and experiences are integrated into a cityscape or neighborhood, or how a vision of a community shapes the delivery of their identity or message. When I arrived in Oklahoma nearly a year ago, I was told that there were huge opportunities for design to make an impact. Designers in Oklahoma are aware of what could be possible, but “the bridge” to make design a community focus had to date not been completed. Leaders in these communities have not been connected to the full potential that design offers. Without this knowledge base, the users of these communities do not understand what design is. A common misunderstanding that complicates matters is that design is equated as marketing. Design is mistakenly understood as the way to “dress things up” or make something “eye catching.” The incomplete part of “the bridge” is the notion that design can be a transformative mechanism that goes beyond the surface, and has the capacity to change the way we experience our present moment and envision our future.

Storefronts: Lettering & Digital Technologies in the Urban Landscape
10/27/2014

Patricia Cue
San Diego State University

ABSTRACT
Commercial storefronts play a vital role in signposting and broadcasting the cultural identity of the urban landscape. Storefront signs address basic commercial communication needs such as naming and stating the type of business, marking the location, advertising services, and attracting customers. But they also fulfill a more important need: expressing the characteristics of a given culture, and defining how that culture is represented visually. They add flavor and authenticity. They let us know, culturally and geographically, where we are.

How a culture is perceived is largely determined by how it is presented. As cultural readers and interpreters, we look for signs and symbols to help us make sense of the space around us. In an ethnic urban landscape, commercial storefront signs are powerful coded symbols that communicate a wealth of cultural information. Sign painting has traditionally been the most common and effective means of conveying that information. In the past, such signs would have been hand-painted. However, since the introduction of plastic materials, and with the dominance of digital technologies, traditional sign painting has declined in popularity, especially in major commercial centers, where it is rarely, if ever, seen. But in many ethnic areas, sign painting has managed to survive as a vernacular form of design that operates on the margins of professional design practice.

This project examines the “membrane” that separates vernacular and professional graphic design, by investigating a particular form of indigenous hand-painted murals that advertise folk music concerts in rural Mexico, and by surveying the current state of storefront designs along University Avenue and San Ysidro Boulevard in San Diego, California. The main objective is to develop models for commercially competitive design solutions that translate the visual language of traditional handmade lettering into modern sign-making technologies and materials, in order to explore culturally sensitive ways to brand small businesses in ethnic pockets within urban areas. By creating design alternatives in the form of prototypes that expand the possibilities of modern technology, this project aims to foster cultural vitality and economic prosperity for small ethnic businesses, and to advocate for the preservation of visual diversity.

10/27/2014

Andy Schwanbeck

ABSTACT
This project explores the value that environmental graphic design elements can create to help promote and improve the perceptions of a neighborhood within a segregated urban landscape. Urban segregation occurs when a city’s diversities create perceived barriers around concentrated clusters of social groups. When these divisions are extreme enough, communities become shut off from the rest of the city and often fall into a perpetual cycle of struggle and degradation. Research has shown that the success of a neighborhood rests in its ability to connect with other neighborhoods and economies throughout a city. It also demonstrates that cross- participation enhances the overall capacity of a community to operate both socially and economically. In a segregated city, there is an opportunity to use environmental graphic design elements to help improve the perceptions of a divided neighborhood and reconnect it to the greater city population.

During this research, a case-study project was developed with the neighborhood East Liberty, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Historically a thriving neighborhood, East Liberty has been plagued by over two decades of neglect and failed renewal efforts. Despite recent development efforts, many locals still avoid this area. This case study uses a combination of research tactics and design prototypes to produce elements that attempt to improve the experience of East Liberty and create more positive perceptions surrounding this area. The results from this project measured a significant improvement to the negative perceptions of East Liberty and demonstrated the potential to entice more people to visit and participate within this neighborhood.

An Interior and Graphic Design Interdisciplinary Collaboration
10/27/2014

Miranda Hall and Nicole Bieak Kreidler
La Roche College

ABSTRACT
Design has undergone many changes over the past several decades. What was once a trade activity is now a practice-based profession that has diversified into very distinct disciplines (Buchanan, 1998). Design disciplines have worked independently until recently, when interdisciplinary collaboration has become increasingly valuable. Studies have shown that collaborative efforts can produce new and original ideas not possible in a uni-disciplinary setting (Nelson, Wilson and Yen, 2009). Too often design education lags behind what is happening within the design profession and it is for this reason that this collaboration was initiated. The decision to plan the interdisciplinary collaboration came out of a discussion of the crossover of content topics within two courses in the Design Division at La Roche College. After additional conversations and planning, it was also driven by the desire to better integrate students and initiate them as co-creators.

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