Have you ever taken a walk in any populated town in the world and noticed, really looked, at the amount of design that surrounds us? Signage, sewer covers, construction, food and beverage and so much more…design truly is — everywhere!
As you might guess, this is especially exciting for me and probably for a lot of designers, photographers, and people making a living designing these products and signage. I’m not talking about the money. For me, it’s more about marking our place in history. It’s wonderful and intriguing to view world history through the lens of a designer. To know what mankind was doing, learning, creating and sadly, even destroying, just by looking at the advertising and design of the period.
Some eras you’ll easily notice are The Renaissance, Baroque, The Industrial Age, Roaring 20’s, Art Deco, Civil Rights and 60’s & 70’s. And depending on your interests, experiences, and backgrounds these eras easily expand.
But the beauty of design is that it doesn’t pick favorites. It speaks the truth — no matter the hurt.
Contemplate memorials that surfaced from The Vietnam War (Maya Lin), The Holocaust (consider Hedwig “Hedy” Strnad) or The Great Depression and the resulting Pre-Modernism.
The next time you’re hailing a taxi, riding a bus, strolling through your nearest shopping mall, take it nice and slow and witness the thought that went into the signage, advertising, and design that surrounds you. And then, consider what your outing would look like or what in the world, it would communicate — without design.