Decorating the Duck

By Christian Williams
Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship

Tap Theatre Poitiers

When the world is proliferated by sign and communication, is a billboard architecture or is architecture a billboard?

Signs and sign systems have had a greater impact on the composition of our built and social environments than we could ever have imagined – both on a visual and cultural level. While Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown speculated on the landscape of signs in Las Vegas in the 70’s, they probably did not imagine to what extent these communicative structures would begin to rule, not just Vegas as a “vernacular”, but the world, developed and undeveloped.

Through a series of building case studies worldwide, interviews with acclaimed practitioners and attendance at the Society for Environmental Graphic Design Conference, Decorating the Duck: 101 Lessons Architecture Can Learn From Environmental Graphic Design investigates whether SPACE and SIGN can coexist more harmoniously. On a theoretical level the report questions the role of the architect in the new landscape of signage and environmental graphics. On a practical level it aims to offer examples and suggestions for the integration of signage and building. On a metaphorical level it aims to help architecture retain the importance of its unique spatiality and form, or the importance of it’s duckness, whilst enveloping signage and wayfinding in its midst. Decorating the Duck.