Signs – Meaning Making Process

Phase 1: Contextual Sign Making

Considering situational/cultural instances that you could make a sign for

Remaking a sign you’ve found to give it a local (Qatar/Gulf region)

Establishing Goals:
Efficient Systems
Learn – Gain knowledge
Analyze contexts, understanding
Greener Qatar? Campaign
Efficacy and functionality
Convey a clear meaning
Ideas for the need of sign in Doha:
  • Drifting Zones
     Drifters drive/drift in places where people reside. It is unsafe for people. (fast, reckless,safety hazard)
  • Wifi Areas (Assembly points) (Warning: no wifi zone)
     Started with zones not reached by wifi. Internet connection has been a necessity, a basic need for people in the past few years, more so with the younger generation. There is a need for a systematized wifi network where it reaches every corner of the place. Not every corner in education city has network connection.
     While sketching, I have realized the change in our social behaviors, in groups, we tend to focus a lot of out attention staring at our screens and sharing something on the web to our friends.
  • Hijab photos
     Etiquette campaign for Doha behaviors. Narrowing down the these ideas to one that you could work on.
   From these three topics, while sketching, I found syntactic connections on wifi areas/our dependability and inability to detach from our mobile phones and assembly points. In the university, with the majlis, cafeteria, and other gathering areas, we see similarities on what once a social convergence. People even in big groups would be on their phones. From these observations, I thought of a way to communicate or perhaps, a social commentary on our behaviors in the present. Assembly points are areas where people gather in case of emergencies. Having to experience a fire drill recently, I saw people still on their phones on the way out of the building. This sign aims to limit our phone usage and a social commentary focusing on experiences rather than having the need to satisfying our virtual followers.
     Putting these signs in its respective locations, it will create a stronger context in certain situations. You would find that in social spaces like the university’s majilis area, the saffron hall, and cafeteria, where people come to together to congregate becomes a space for people to sit and use their phones.
     Having these signs up in an official way purposefully through the use of irony, showing them exactly what they are doing, criticizes groups of people collectively on their mobile phones. It opens our eyes to think critically about the unorthodox social norms of the present. It is an observation on how dependent people are on the internet (fairly so, you could argue).
signmaking3 signmaking2 sign-making
I have found these signs to have the most direct communication, ideally for global, official, and high vernacular contexts.
Next Phase: Developing signs based on its context
It started from the idea of assembly points, where coming from a personal experience, I saw a pattern in every group of people that gather together. These gave me the idea of discussing the topic of phone usage in events and situations in a social context. It started with sketches of the common sign we have for these, and wifi signs.
IMG_5219 IMG_5217 IMG_5216
From past critiques, I have done multiple variations and refinements of the man symbol which could be seen below:
IMG_4899 IMG_5012 Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 12.05.27 PM
These refinements include unifying the visual language and gestalt through adjusting the line weight and form.
Unifying the line weight. Working more systematic and treating this illustrations holistically, putting them in order, in a way, designs a system. Adjusting line weight and visual hierarchy allow the audience for a more visual appeal and a more effective gestalt.
I have since refined the symbol of man and illustrated the app icons. In this case (high vernacular – low vernacular), the distinguishing factor between the two is the apps used. Some are meant for a more sophisticated demographic, while some are for a low vernacular audience.
Working on this project gave me a whole new insight on semiotic learning, and more specifically on signs. From gathering of street signs to the final phase of this project, I saw a different perspective on signs. We see them everywhere and anywhere but the initial idea we have on signs are official (the most common we see). Understanding the context and your audience, you learn to adjust, not just the treatment of illustrations but the message you can convey as well. After all, the main aim you are trying to achieve is to communicate and elaborate the message in the most effective and easiest way possible.

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