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American Signs: Form and Meaning on Rte. 66 (Anglais) Broché – 14 octobre 2002

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

The roadside sign has become an American icon: a glowing neon symbol of the golden age of the open road. Yet signs are complex pieces of design, serving not only as physical markers but also as cultural, political, and economic ones. In American Signs, Lisa Mahar traces the evolution of motel signs on Route 66 in a distinctive visual approach that combines text, images, and graphics.

American Signs reveals the rich vernacular traditions of motel sign-making in five eras, spanning from the late 1930s through the 1970s. The motel signs of the early 1940s, for instance, reflect vernacular traditions dating back at least a century, while examples from the later years of the decade reveal a culture newly obsessed with themes. America's fascination with newness and technological progress is manifested in 1950s motel signs. Finally, in the 1960s, a turn toward simplicity and the use of new, modular technologies allowed motel signs to address the needs of a mass society and the beginnings of a national, rather than regional, aesthetic for motel signs.

Biographie de l'auteur

Lisa Mahar is a cofounder and partner in the New York architecture and design firm MAP. Her first book, Grain Elevators, won the AIA International Book Award. Mahar is the recipient of the Design Arts Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts and is a winner of the ID Magazine Graphic Design Honor Award.

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Détails sur le produit

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5 8 commentaires
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Signs of the times... 30 septembre 2007
Par J. Bradley - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book illustrates, with some technical form, the artful, whimsical commercial signage of days past. If you're wistful or nostalgic about the wild neon and bright painted signage you saw or like from the golden ages of the fifties and sixties, this book is for you! It's chock full of signage, specs and discussions of the form and substance of fanciful advertising. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves the imagery found all along the Mother Road..and beyond!
4 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Read this and learn how to look at and think about a sign 24 août 2006
Par Bernard M. Patten - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Every once in awhile someone from the high culture descends into a part of the low culture, studies it, and comes up with interesting findings. That Lisa Mahar is from the high culture there can be no doubt for she has won numerous awards from AIA, NEA, the NYS council on the arts, etc. That she has come up with another subject of interest (her book on grain elevators being a classic) there can be no doubt. In this instance, a book about motel signs, she gathered from her vast collection (500+) of pictures and old post cards the most interesting motel signs on route 66. She culled the ones that showed best her ideas of the evolution, and development of motel signs in terms of form, materials, orientation, symbols, content, and context. When you finish reading her book, you'll recognize streamline from art deco and colonial from international styles. You will know the possible deep embedded meanings in angled forms, irregular shapes, abstract symbols (like the Holiday Inn signs with that shooting star) and the artistic significance of asymmetry. Some of these deep meanings are frightening, if true as claimed by her, especially the crowns, turrets, shields, arrows, and crests in the context in which they appeared, the 1965 Watts insurrection and the 1967 Newark rebellion. Once you have read and reviewed this book, you will never be able to just look at a road sign again. Instead you will think about them - who made them, when, why, and out of what, as well as the overt and covert meanings. Most importantly, you will think how the sign fits in and reflects the place, culture, and tenor of its time.
15 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Questionable on many levels 29 novembre 2005
Par Wayne A. - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I'm a professional designer and one of my favorite books on the popular cultural environment is "Main Street to Miracle Mile" and I imagine many who seek reviews of this book would say the same. This is not the book for you.

First, the illustrations are small and often not helpful. The author is of a school of design communication that is thankfully fading rapidly, turning up increasingly in the remainder bins. Recall the last time you picked up a 90s era book on, say, deconstructionist architecture and were stupefied by page after page of arid photos and obscure diagrams. This book isn't as bad as most but it clearly comes from that same camp.

Second, her whole point is that signage is an indicator of social change. Like many schooled in modern French criticism (also turning up in remainder bins these days) she frequently asserts without proof, as if an elegant sentence is somehow enough. The example that most irritated me was her statement that in the 60s regal motifs in signage became popular as a result of racial tensions and a yearning for authoritarianism. Aside from the fact that regal motifs were widespread through much of the early 20th century--as even cursory research will reveal--the assertion is made without any real attempt to prove this outrageous point. My sense was that she was writing within an intellectual milieu, of a type that afflicted us all during the 90s, that simply accepted certain cultural issues, like racism, as givens that required no evidence even in their particulars. Not exactly what we called scholarship and now again call scholarship. The book has that preaching-to-the-choir quality that was all too common with socio-politicized academic publications. Thankfully, we seem to be growing out of that phase.

Rather than being useful book on signage in America (that book still needs to be written) or even a useful book on social and cultural change, this is more an Exhibit Z of 90s-era intellectual and academic style, a trendy, obscurantist, frequently sloppy, and sometimes strident style I believe future historians will not mention favorably. From what I do understand about French-school criticism, that's, ironically, what it's supposed to be, a reflection of its times.
3 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must have 20 avril 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This book is a must have for architects, designers, and fans of Route 66! Mahar's careful and inspired approach and method is encouraging and inspiring. Her analysis provides an insight that embraces and transcends the material. The book creates a record of 'The Road,' the nation, and vernacular culture. This complete and multi-discipline analysis provides massive visual and textual interest. The book is organized chronologically in a consistent way, highlighting the developments and changes that occured in Route 66's motel signage and culture. The whole study can also be viewed as a microcosm of the changes that occured in America during the period covered (40's - 70's). The graphics, photographs and writing will appeal to fans of Tufte's books on visual comminication, Venturi's Learning from Las Vegas, and Glassie's Folk Housing in Middle Virginia.
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting and informative, but book design is annoying 25 avril 2004
Par Another Storey - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Anyone interested in the history of roadside signs will learn much from this book, but what a chore it is to read it. The main text is in bright red type with minimal margins. Captions and diagrams are in black type (thankfully) but far too small to be read easily. In many diagrams the type is not only tiny but is also in all-caps, which might not be a problem if the diagrams weren't so wordy. Some of the photos are so small that we just have to assume that they illustrate the author's points.
I recommend the book because of its content, but be sure to get a good reading light and a magnifying glass to get the full benefit.
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