In Concert

Collaboration drives impressive environmental graphics projects.
The Anne Frank exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance.

When Anne Frank wrote in her diary, “This is a photograph of me as I wish I looked all the time. Then I might have a chance of getting in Hollywood,” she certainly wasn’t imagining her portrait hanging up in a tolerance museum near the Hollywood Hills.

However, Frank’s harrowing story made it there nonetheless, in the form of an exhibit focused on her life and legacy, created by CannonDesign (Los Angeles). The exhibit, simply titled “Anne,” was part of the renovation of Los Angeles’ Museum of Tolerance, a hands-on experiential museum focused on the dynamics of anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice, according to Mehrdad Yazdani, design principal of Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign. “Our team helped renovate the museum in a project that modernized exhibit spaces, two theaters, a children’s multi-functional learning center and several multi-purpose rooms, [including] ‘Anne,’” he said. 

To connect Anne’s story to current generations, modern tools and technology were required. “What differentiates this exhibit is that we didn’t just reconstruct the attic and room where Anne Frank lived with her family,” Yazdani said. “Instead, we focused on creating an immersive experience of her life, [seeking] to illustrate her story with unique nuances and moments that defined her existence.” According to Mimi Lam, associate vice president of Yazdani Studio, these nuances include the following:

  • A collection of visual cues that illuminates Frank’s life, writing and imagination. 
  • A backlit, larger-than-life portrait of Anne paired with excerpts from her diary. The image can be seen through the windows of the museum and looks out toward the Hollywood sign. 
  • A pair of 20-ft. graphic walls; one transports visitors to Amsterdam and the other reveals Frank’s family tree.
  • Photo graphics etched on Dibond panels that breathe life into artifacts contained in display cases. 
  • A chestnut tree graphic printed on opaque PVC film that acts as blackout window tint to hide basketball courts otherwise visible from the building’s windows. 

For Lam, the museum was an ideal client, understanding that the graphics could make the exhibit an emotional and educational experience. “Graphics are critical to making her story accessible and relatable to the younger generation, and the museum cared deeply about this reality,” she said. Yazdani Studio used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to design the exhibit and collaborated with a strategically selected team to ensure accurate fabrication, installation and maintenance. 

The Museum of Tolerance worked with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam to provide the artifacts and facsimiles. “Design is inherently a collaborative process and the Museum of Tolerance was intimately involved,” Lam said. “They wanted to ensure the exhibit we created conveyed the messaging they intended in a manner that represented their identity as a prominent voice in the fight for human rights.”


The Gwinnett Stripers increased fan engagement with Custom Sign Factory’s signage for Coolray Field.
The Gwinnett Stripers increased fan engagement with Custom Sign Factory’s signage for Coolray Field.

When the Gwinnett Braves, the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, rebranded as the Gwinnett Stripers, Custom Sign Factory (CSF; Duluth, GA) stepped up to the plate. The Stripers already had a new name, logos and uniforms, but they needed updated signage for Coolray Field, their home ballpark, including ground- and ceiling-mounted directionals, exterior wayfinding, a scoreboard cabinet, a large wall sign in the shape of a striper and a monument ID sign manufactured to resemble the scoreboard signage. Luckily, CSF co-owners Cory Potalivo and Dustin Potalivo were able to have the company do it all – the fabrication, installation and maintenance for the signage.

To meet both client necessities and budget, CSF used pre-existing and original signage to bring the new branding together. First, they created a site plan that individually marked the locations of all directional signage, then they removed the signage and brought it back to their facility. From there, they refaced each of the directionals with aluminum, paint and digital graphics. 

Cory noted that the artwork for the rebrand was created by a branding company and not necessarily created to make signs. Because of this, some tweaking had to be done to the art before it could be made into the appropriate signage. “Our design team had to take these images and prepare them for creating large-scale signage, which included a 400-sq.-ft. building sign greeting fans coming into the ballpark.” For design and specs, CSF’s team used CorelDRAW 2018, Adobe Illustrator and SAi’s FlexiSIGN software.

Aluminum from Eastern Metal and Grimco was used for the majority of the project due to its ability to withstand Georgia’s varying climates, as was Matthews Paint. CSF installed HanleyLED P-2072 modules with Hanley 12V power supplies in the scoreboard sign. The scoreboard’s advertising panels had to be retrofitted with Principal LED Qwik Mod 3 LED modules attached to a light rail to act as the fluorescent bulbs, due to the size (10 x 20 ft.) of the cabinet. “These were the best choice for us due to the spread of the LED and their warranty,” Dustin said.

For the fabrication portion of the project, CSF used two MultiCam CNC machines, four Millermatic 252 MIG welders and a variety of power tools. FlexiSIGN and EnRoute 6 drove the routing and digital printing. The signs were printed by CSF’s Mimaki JFX200-2513 and Mimaki JV150-130 on 3M Controltac IJ180C vinyl. For the cut vinyl, CSF used its Graphtec FC8000 cutting plotter to trim 3M’s Scotchcal ElectroCut Graphic Film Series 7125.


Entro | CVEDesign made sure tourists could navigate the recently renovated Roosevelt Island in New York City.
Entro | CVEDesign made sure tourists could navigate the recently renovated Roosevelt Island in New York City.

What good is a tourist destination if you can’t find your way around it? New York City’s recently renovated Roosevelt Island had all of the guts but none of the glory. Now, thanks to Entro | CVEDesign, a New York City-based design firm, tourists can successfully navigate the narrow island situated in the East River.

Once a sleepy, well-kept secret, Roosevelt Island’s economy is booming. The long, narrow island between Manhattan and Queens has been put back on the map, thanks, in part, to the opening of the new NYC Ferry port and the Cornell Tech campus, per Chris Calori, principal at Entro | CVEDesign. “Also, unique to NYC is the Roosevelt Island Tramway, which connects Midtown Manhattan to the island,” Calori said. “Often tourists took the tram to the island and immediately went back to Manhattan. Our goal was to encourage exploration with our signage program.”

Entro | CVEDesign created a wayfinding system that included scenic walkways and unobstructed skyline views. “We were primarily concerned with pedestrian-level signage because the island discourages auto use in favor of walking,” said Jessica Schrader, senior project manager/senior designer at Entro | CVEDesign. “Therefore, we included three key elements: a monumental red logo placemaking feature, map kiosks and directional finger signs.” According to Schrader, the red logo anchors the wayfinding system, while the kiosks provide an overview of the island and key details about the various amenities. The directional finger signs include travel distances to various locations.

All signs were fabricated from aluminum with granite bases by MS Signs (Paterson, NJ), who used Fossil’s high-pressure laminate for the map as well as Matthews Paint. Adobe Illustrator and SketchUp guided the design process.

Watching the tourists easily navigate their way around Roosevelt Island could very well serve as a metaphor for environmental graphics. Calori’s advice? “Never stop looking at what is around you.”


Signs of the Times July 2020

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