Monday, July 30, 2012

A Very Special Project

I've been chosen for an honor of sorts;
I've been asked to make the unisex restroom sign for Portland Pottery's new store and cafe.

Though it does amuse me, it's also an intriguing graphic design challenge: must be similar enough to the familiar symbol to be easily recognizable by patrons who might not share my sense of humor. So any inclination I might have to utilize other sorts of male/female icons has to be curbed to the audience. (Oh, I don't know...Marilyn Monroe and Jimmy Dean?...An iris and a jack-in-the-pulpit? A veiled pillbox and a fedora?) If the user has to think about what the sign means, the functio n is compromised. But on the other hand, why order handmade at all if I just cough up a dry stoneware rendering of the same restroom sign you can find at the turnpike stop?

 Of my alternative designs, I liked this one best, but it shares the same difficulties that many others do: if it's simple enough for a single-glance recognition, it's almost by definition sort of sexist. (Including, I guess, the universal symbol.) Also, maybe the association of lips and toilets (in a cafe, no less) is not the best.

So I'm leaning towards a minor, possibly humorous variation on the sign we all recognize, but I don't want to be dull or disappointing. Note to self: ARRGH, fear of failure!! It's a restroom sign, just make something and be done with it!!!

I did say this was fun, didn't I?

Anyway, Karen, Cooper, Lisa, et al: that is what is taking me so long. I have the slab rolled, I have the border carved....and now I'm stumped. Never fear, however: I've decided to decide by the end of today, and have the image carved by the end of tomorrow.

And then I'll have glaze decisions to make...


Darcy said...

How about throwing a toilet bowl just big enough to plant a small succulent in, and then make a plaque to hang above it that reads; "for all humankind"

Frankie Perussault said...

how about writing French toilets on it? hm!

- Cindy - said...

I like the lips and mustache! :D I know I'd get it at a glance, but it's hard when you're pandering to the lowest common denominator. I worked in tech support for four years. I've worked in retail. I know you can't take anything for granted when your audience is the public at large. As it is, the universal symbols will manage to stump some people. I'm not even joking.

ps- I must be a robot. I never get the captchas for posting comments on your blog right the first time. :p