Celebrating the Warm and Fuzzy Side of Signs and Visual Graphics

by Renae Fogarty

Working in the visual communications industry, I have a sensitive eye for signage. I am very aware of the fact that signage is designed to sell, direct and inform and is key to successful marketing for businesses and organizations. A world without signs would make it difficult to navigate and almost impossible for businesses and organizations to be found. However, my post is not about the business of signs, but it is actually about the softer side of signs and visual graphics. It is not about using signs to sell, direct or inform, but to evoke emotion, passion and feelings. It is about those special signs that make you smile, bring a tear to your eye and even make your reflect on life. I have found that there are signs designed simply to make you feel good. These are the signs that give you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

I have firsthand experience with the emotions that can be felt when seeing one of those “soft” signs. On my daily drive home from work, I pass a young man who jogs up and down the sidewalk carrying a different sign each day. It is a hand written sign on a small piece of cardboard with messages like “LOL,” “Peace,” “Love,” “Smile,” and “You are loved.” His written messages are always accompanied with a huge grin and sometimes he even uses sign language to say “I love you.”. He is always waving and smiling and I can’t help but smile—it is absolutely contagious. I always smile, wave back and then get that warm, fuzzy feeling about life, the world and this person.

As I was rushing around to get home from work recently, I stopped by the grocery store. I didn’t really want to. I was tired from a long work day, endured traffic going home, stopped for gas and now adding a trip to the grocery store was the last thing I felt like doing. As I walked into the store, I passed by a parked car and noticed a decal applied to the gas cap door. It read, “Slow Down Enjoy Life.” Guess what? I actually did slow down and I smiled. I took a picture with my cell phone. It was the right message, at the right time, and made me feel warm and fuzzy about life, the world and this person.

Slow Down Enjoy Life

What about those signs you see in people’s yards that let you know “It’s a Boy” or “It’s a Girl”? Even if I don’t know the person; I can just imagine the happiness in their household. I smile and my heart is warmed just thinking about the new parents with a newborn, the proud grandparents, the apprehensive pets and the joy filling the household. This makes me feel warm and fuzzy about life, the world, the people and their new baby. Don’t even get me started on the signs welcoming home soldiers. I have been in the airport on several occasions and witnessed that special moment when a soldier walks through the airport to the applause from strangers, and then into the arms of tearful loved ones as they hold that special sign declaring, “Welcome Home!” It makes me feel sentimental about life, the world, the families and the soldier’s sacrifice. That is the kind of sign that brings a tear of pride and joy to my eyes at the same time.

There are many wonderful signs surrounding us that evoke emotion. Many messages relayed though signs and graphics cross our path daily. Car decals communicate the driver is the proud parent of an honor student or an athlete, or the silhouette decals represent the family members on rear windows. I saw one yesterday that showed super hero images to represent their family. With so many funny signs that make me laugh, I often stop to snap a photo to share with my friends on social media. And sometimes this drives me to write a blog post to share my thoughts with the world. As you go through your busy day, I hope you notice a sign or two that provides the right message at the right time and provides that warm, fuzzy feeling about life, the world and yourself.

Breate, Relax, Dream

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