Updated: Interview With Bryan McCormick of Vegas Vernacular

Galaxy Building

Update: 4/22/2013: While I was attending the 2013 International Sign Association’s Sign Expo in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of sitting down with Bryan over lunch to discuss the latest happenings with the Vegas Vernacular. It had been about 6 months since our first interview and I wanted to get an update on the organization, what they are currently working on and what’s next……oh and to get my print of the Desert Moon Motel I ordered!

Although I loved meeting Bryan at the art exhibit back in September of 2012, this time around was even better. We went to an incredible little place to eat, called EAT, in old downtown and just talked signage. It was the first time I had ever just walked around that area and it really gave me an appreciation for what Bryan and his team are trying to document. Once you get away from the Strip, you realize that a whole other world exists. Just walking and driving down Freemont Street – away from the tourist traps – you quickly realize what Vegas was truly about. It’s not about the massive Casinos. It’s about the hundreds of family owned motels and businesses that lined the streets. Each one with a unique story. Each one on the verge of disappearing.

Although they have accumulated around 50,000 images, there is still more to be done. Much of their current projects are based on immediate necessity. Not only are the smaller motels and building being closed down, they are being torn down. Bryan said that just knowing what properties are next is difficult. Then trying to get in to photograph them can be an even bigger challenge.

But, aside from the constant need to document the signs, Bryan and his team are right in the middle of creating a platform to catalog and display the images. The best part of the platform, they want to make it available to other organizations, in other cities, to allow them to accomplish the same goal as the Vegas Vernacular. A national platform for all to use as inspiration and education. They have also spent some time trying to track down the artists, like “King” Richard Harris, who actually created the hand painted signage. Their personal stories are as much a part of the dialogue as the signs they created!

For the most part, things continue at breakneck speed for the Vegas Vernacular and the ever changing landscape of Las Vegas sure keeps Bryan on his toes. Let’s just hope he is quick enough to document it before it’s gone! (more…)

Sign Design: Effectively Using Design Elements

Sign Design - KISS
We’ve all seen them – signs that are ugly, unreadable or confusing. These signs don’t help the businesses they advertise; they hurt them. Customers shouldn’t have to decipher your sign; its purpose and message should be immediately apparent. When it’s time to make a sign for your business pay close attention to the elements of sign design. These include font, images, information, color and white space.

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Logo Series: McDonald’s Golden Arches

This article is the first in a series discussing specific company logos, their designs and histories. The definition of the word logo is, “a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition.” (1) The best logos, used consistently, provide a strong corporate identity of the businesses they represent. Eventually, a company’s logo becomes a complex symbol that represents associated meanings and values apart from the actual company and its product. A logo can induce emotional reactions, memories and even moral judgements.

McDonald's Golden ArchesThe McDonald’s Golden Arches logo is one of the most recognizable in the world and has been for decades. A study in 1985 asked three and four-year-olds to identify logos. The McDonald’s logo was the most recognized with 17 out of 20 preschoolers able to identify the golden arches as McDonald’s (2). Because of the global reach of the company, the McDonald’s logo has come to signify more than just a hamburger restaurant. Today it symbolizes capitalism and American culture.

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