Signage around NYC

New York is full of advertisements and signs for just about everything. This week’s Visual Language assignment required students to photograph two signs that they thought were designed well and two that were poorly designed, then choose one of the poorly designed signs and redesign to follow better design fundamentals.

Well Designed Signs:

Beginning with signs that I think are designed well, whenever I walk around Greenwich Village these signs for the 25th Anniversary of the Village Alliance, hanging from light poles always catch my eye. The contrast of color and the simple design draw my eye initially to the large pink 25 in the middle of the sign and then to the text on the top and bottom of the number. I believe that the sign is a good design because of the simplicity in informing the reader of the purpose and the use of color and space.

Village Alliance sign

Village Alliance sign

The other sign that I believe is designed well is actually an ad campaign for Lyft that I have been seeing on the L train all summer.

The first thing I notice about these signs are bright colors and names of well known NYC places displayed in large block letters that are filled with cartoons depicting relevant scenes for the sign. After my eye moves from the main word or phrase I notice the minor text and graphics including the Lyft information. I think I enjoy each of these signs so much because they grab my attention for reasons other than them being ads. The graphics are pleasant to look at and if I didn’t know what the places were then I would be inclined to research them.

Poorly Designed Signs:

I’ve lived in Bushwick for almost two years. In that time I’ve walked by this deli numerous times and every time I see it I always chuckle at the layout of the prints on its’ windows, most of all the beverages portion. I actually love the ridiculous of this sign and similar signs on delis all over each borough but in terms of design the signs aren’t great. When first looking at the sign my eye is drawn to the word “Beverages.” Immediately after that my eyes wander around seeing all sorts of random food products, most of which not being drinks. This gives the sign a conflicting statement that could confuse the reader. There is also a lot going on in each of the signs which makes them feel cluttered and distracting.

MTA service change sign

MTA service change sign

The second poorly designed sign, and the one I chose to redesign, was for an MTA service change on the L train. These signs are always around NYC and are difficult to read due to being densely worded and poor groupings of important text. This sign in particular has important text on the top that is too similar in size to the sub text. The sections for english and the spanish translation are grouped too close together so it can be difficult to distinguish parts of the poster. The alignment of the english and Spanish side is also off. Finally, the instructions for the service change are long winded and a pain to read through.

Below you can see my redesign of the sign. I put most of the emphasis on the separation of english and Spanish, using clearer symbols for alternative modes of transportation, and writing clearer and less dense instructions.

This redesign is in no way a final design but with the time constraint and my limited illustrator skills I believe that it represents my thought process.

Redesign of MTA Service Change Sign

Redesign of MTA Service Change Sign