Good graphics herald progress

Good quote, good mission

A couple days ago UAB School of Public Health hosted a breakfast to introduce  a new space under construction called Edge of Chaos (hard-hat presentation shown above). Conceived as a unique collaborative space where interdisciplinary faculty, students, and the community at large can gather informally to hash out ideas and develop solutions, when it opens next year the hope is it will generate innovation and entrepreneurship. Other universities have started similar ventures with much success. This could be one great way to leverage the huge brainpower of UAB to enhance both the university and the local economy. [the space is on the top floor of the Lister Hill Library]

Piquing curiosity

The invite to the event (above) startled me upon first glance. Not only were the bright yellow and bold, modern font visually arresting, but the whole layout seemed attuned to the “out of the box” nature of the new venture. Choosing a non-standard format for the invite helped intrigue invitees, and made the statement: “UAB is doing something different”. Simple yellow banners with great quotes decorated the half-finished space, relating back to the initial invite. It’s exciting when graphic design is used well in the service of new ideas.

Good graphics of another sort

Getting close to opening in the Lakeview District is the Tin Roof, part of a small southern chain of bars (pic above at the new location in the 2700 block of 7th Avenue South). The retro signage, inspired by American roadside pop culture of the 1950’s, is fun, stylish, and welcome in a city where exterior signage is often dull, an afterthought, or both. A good example of how signage can lift up the visual character of the public realm.


5 responses to “Good graphics herald progress

  1. Both examples are encouraging. The tin roof canopies also appear to enhance the texture of the street. Quaint but crisp.

  2. Two very positive developments bringing more “added value” to our community- especially Edge of Chaos. I’ve always been a secret fan of that block of modernist structures… especially the odd “rooftop” plaza of Volker Hall. The complex simply says, “research happens here”. At least, it says that to me.

    • It’s easy to be wistful about those elevated plazas: a real product of their time when segregating pedestrians from highway-speed vehicles seemed brilliant (as opposed to traffic calming, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, and other ideas that have since replaced them). Transforming those elevated plazas into something that really works would be fascinating, though. Maybe “thinking gardens” for Edge of Chaos.

  3. The Edge of Chaos project looks very interesting. Its amazing the effect good graphic design can have – I wouldn’t have believed it until i started working with a very good one. I guess thats why the big agencies charge so much!

    • I think it’s often true that you get what you pay for–the best designers, whether in architecture, landscape, graphic design, or product design will typically be more expensive. The best design, however, can result in outcomes (economic, quality of life, etc.) that show us how worthwhile it is to invest up front. Thanks for reading.

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