Flat to form,  2-d to 3-d,  small to big. The blending of design disciplines is not new. The process is usually initiated in architecture, kicks around graphic design for a while and eventually finds its way into digital media. There are good examples (check out and there are bad (think of any billboard-wrapped building in Los Angeles). Many attempts, few success stories. The focus of  this missive relates to blending architecture and graphic design.

So, what is the point of this? Why do we need to muddy up perfectly good forms with patterns, words, pictures? Most architects do everything they can to eliminate this dastardly discipline of graphics from the architectural vernacular. It’s cheap, it looks out of scale, and it hides the subtle details created when forms play with light. And they’re not wrong. These reasons seem valid, should raise a red flag or concern and can potentially lead to disaster. We do have to be careful. But that’s the point. We always need to be careful. As designers it’s our job to be concise, strategic, communicative. But most importantly, we need to play.

When a cultural “artifact” is successfully integrated into the built environment, the results are often dramatic. By artifact I mean anything that is visually influential, or gives us a preview into a companies, societies, or inhabitant’s lifestyle or customs. This can be a photograph, text, or a simple pattern that augments and informs a space. The key is to be thoughtful with this blending of disciplines. Develop a strategy that is informed by the user’s culture, and be sensitive about implementation. But most importantly, explore.


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