On Mez Dispenser, Dave Meslin shared a really interesting point about the design of public notices from the City of Toronto. Meslin talks about civic engagement and participation, and notes that public notices are not designed to be very friendly or enticing to the average citizen (or anyone, really). So Meslin’s challenge to Torontonians was to re-imagine the public notice.
Above is my submission.
I was intrigued by the idea of redesigning something that was meant to engage and spark interest and participation among my fellow Torontonians. I thought about what I (and probably others) would want to see in a design. There were no guidelines outlined, but Meslin points out a few things he’s looking for:
- Friendly design. Colourful, attractive, inviting.
- Plain language text, that is useful and simple to understand.
- A call to action! “We want to hear from you”… “Your voice matters”…. “This is your chance to be heard”…. etc.
In taking up this challenge, I started thinking about how to best design a notice for the Toronto that I have come to know.
I’ve been a Torontonian for four years now. My relationship with the city has deepened in the time that I’ve lived here and what I love about Toronto is that I feel like it’s always in conversation with me through the signage, people, architecture, services and artwork that flourishes its streets. It’s stimulating to be engaged in this dialogue, and in particular, I always enjoy pausing on the streets to take a look at the new posters plastered on the lamp posts and bulletin boards around the city. I also started thinking about the diverse people and services in the city that are near and dear to me. One of the first things that came to my mind and has been on the mind of many Torontonians lately: libraries. Libraries bring different people together and are a place of learning, enlightenment, and community.
So with some of these thoughts in mind, I started thinking about the different ways I could reshape public notices so that they would look a bit different than your average poster and be able to fit onto public objects and be made accessible in public spaces.
The notice I created above is designed to be a bookmark. I thought a bookmark was an accessible and convenient way of sharing information that could be made available in stores, offices, and most of all, libraries! A bookmark is light, easy to take away and pass on, and useful for someone doing some reading on say, her/his favorite civic issues. Using this concept, I imagine differently designed bookmark series that could represent different types of public notices…and what might be a fun idea would be to have various designers/artists/citizens to illustrate the front face of the bookmark. This might be a creative and participatory way to help people get involved in the issues being addressed. The bookmark would also double as a narrow poster that could fit nicely onto lamp posts, bulletin boards, and window spaces.
What do you think?
Whatever gets designed, I think it will be important to get citizens involved in evaluating and generating feedback to ensure that designs are relevant, usable, and attractive to Torontonians.
Anyways, those are just some of my thoughts. I’m really curious to see the other submitted designs.
Thanks for the design Challenge, Dave.
UPDATE: I have updated my submission so that it better reflects a development proposal (see below)…