Every year the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) Design Awards scan the globe for the best in communication design for the built environment. And this year, two clever Kiwi concepts have been selected from the vast field to take home awards, joining other winners from the likes of New York and Portugal.
Massey University graphic design student Katie Bevin picked up the highest accolade—an Honour Award—for her time-based, site-specific piece of environmental typography called Urban Tales Shadow Typography. Meanwhile design and brand agency Studio Alexander picked up a Merit Award for its innovative installation designed to promote health and safety awareness amongst staff working on Auckland’s Victoria Park tunnel construction programme.
Bevin’s project combines form with shadow to create a temporal typographic narrative in Wellington’s urban Waitangi Park. Bevin describes the project on her website:
Urban Tales brings the stories of outdoor urban spaces into the built environment. A time-based piece of environmental typography combines form with shadow to create a temporal narrative.
The words become visible when shadows meet the shapes on the ground, constructing a phrase out across 10 hours. The lines of the phrase can be viewed from 8am to 6pm, with each word appearing for approximately an hour.
The forms ultimately spell out the phrase by Dr. Seuss:
“From here to there, and there to here.”
The SEGD jury had these words to say about Bevin's concept:
“The jury was overwhelmingly impressed by this project’s resourcefulness. Even with a non-existent fabrication budget, this student work had more visual impact than many of the projects submitted by professionals and design firms. This project stood out because of the unexpected use of existing environmental details (pylons), the formulation of a new modular typeface, and the overall creativity and novelty of the project.”
“An extremely thoughtful and creative concept. Delightful and engaging.”
“When something touches you and elevates the mundane in such a simple and profound way, it can only be terrific design.”
“Simple and clever idea, worked into a comprehensive, conceptual environmental design strategy, providing joy for the engaged user. I give it an A.”
But its now the first award Bevin has received for her project. The project also picked up a Merit award at the 2010 ISTD Awards. And like Bevin’s win, Studio Alexanders SEGD award isn’t the first for its project. The three-dimensional safety installation for Fletcher Construction last year picked up a supreme Best award for graphics, and featured in the Victoria Park Alliance’s award winning entry to the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards.
The installation is prominently positioned around site workers’ facilities that construction staff pass at the beginning of work each day. It includes a series of graphics with real life stories of how workers’ lives have been affected by accidents, x-rays of injuries, a video interview with a seriously injured worker, and a display which helps staff see safety in the context of the impact on workers’ families.
Commenting on the installation, SEGD said: “This is sophisticated, clever, easy, and touching–a grand evolution of the heartless warning sign. It's finally human.”
The two New Zealand wins sit alongside an impressive range of 26 other winning projects that represent a diverse, international array of work including the technology‐rich Shanghai World Exposition pavilion, the MAXXI National Museum in Rome, a sculpture park installation in Labin, Croatia, and innovative parking garage graphics in New York.
John Lutz, chair of the 2011 SEGD Design Awards jury and a principal of Selbert Perkins Design, says the dramatic range of project types, budgets, locations, and clients represented in the 2011 program illustrates the impact that environmental graphic design has on the built world—and how EGD can impact the way people perceive and use public spaces.
“In a field of more than 450 excellent entries, the Design Awards program showed us how far the reach of EGD has extended,” says Lutz. “In addition to projects from expected venues— museums, sports facilities, corporate environments, and hospitals—we saw innovative graphics for parking garages, parks, schools, and even churches.”
He says the jury was particularly drawn to projects that used the entire environment to communicate.
Below are some of the projects from the honour