Visualizing San Francisco: Exploring Signage & Public Spaces

Stacy Asher
ART 195
Core F

Course Description:

San Francisco, a city of contrasts, dynamic history and diverse populations, is a public space replete with visual communication in the form of signage. All manner of visual communication - directional signage, retail signs, banners, posters, billboards and advertisements, on the street and inside and outside of buildings - competes for attention, conveys content, and merges to create a sense of place and identity in the urban landscape.

This course will survey graphic design styles, typographic forms and media found on signage dating from the early days of San Francisco to the present. Students, as new citizens of San Francisco will together tour the various neighborhoods and communities of the city, observing, collecting and documenting signage. They will reflect upon documented examples of signage, analyze and study the relevant intended audience in its community context (historical, cultural or otherwise). Each will then engage in writing about his/her discoveries, and in the process learn to navigate their way in his/her new city.

Faculty Bio:

Stacy Asher is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Art + Architecture where she has taught classes on typography, publication design, design and social change and design media. Stacy has an MFA in Design from the California College of the Arts. She has worked as a designer on several large, outdoor signage campaigns for HIV Prevention as well as the promotion of the cultural arts in San Francisco. Stacy is dedicated to creating what she calls social art, which engages the public in assessing and reflecting on how we exist in public space. She strives to utilize art and design as a bridge to connect diverse communities in innovative and meaningful ways.