Merging: More experimentation with Low Vernacular (photographs)

Experimented with different perspectives and trying to put the x on the lights. I tried different kinds of rays.

Carheadlightflashpaint1 ^The right one in the first row seemed to be the most promising. The rest looked more like ‘the floodlight is on’.

Carheadlightflashpaint2 I felt like this perspective ^ would be much more clearer than the other one (you can see the light “flash” from the hood of the car that’s flashing).

Iterations I plan to show for the last critique:

Carheadlightflashpaint3  Carheadlightflashpaint5 Carheadlightflashpaint6

Merging: Test 1 (testing Low Vernacular sign)

I WAS planning on scanning my different iterations, because paint would give a different look from charcoal. I decided against that, because I encountered and even bigger problem. I tested my low vernacular signs on my friends (from school, not university). I did this because most of my friends in university knew what I was doing already. This group of friends included girls and boys.

I had a big shock.

Nobody got it at all. At all.

Here’s a summary of the testing (what most people said):

Idea was not clear at all. Most people understood that it was to do with no tailgating or that something was wrong with the cars/ it shouldn’t be used/ it’s not allowed.

The red lines have a harsher, stronger tone (indicating more danger). Yellow seems like a more casual warning. Black lines with the diagonal stroke – seat belts.

The photos of the headlights were also not that visible because they were dark, but looked more ominous (high vernacular?). This set made the idea more obvious, because there was more focus on the actual lights.








lowvsigntest8I was struggling with what to do differently at this point so I decided to tell them what I was aiming for.










Cropped into the car headlights:



Asked a Different person after cropping into the car headlights:


Ugh, why??

Goals, emphasise there is a problem with the lights. x over the LIGHTS (NOT THE WHOLE CAR)!!! Show that the lights are FLASHING!!! I could try a different perspective.

Merging: Low vernacular (photographs) experimentation with different types of lines

I began work on the low vernacular sign first. I planned to print the photographs, paint iterations of crosses/lines using different media. I wanted to find the most suitable media/form that would have the most clarity. I also plan to experiment with photographing vs scanning the sign.

lowvsignpaint1 ^ I normally wouldn’t blur the license plate because I felt that a person making a low vernacular sign wouldn’t do that. I reconsidered that point of view, because people do care about their privacy and consider these things (even if they don’t need to, because of lack of information).

^ Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have whiteout at hand (which would be what the person making the sign would typically use). I improvised…(I really need to plan better).

lowvsignpaint3^Work space

I didn’t like how grainy the photograph was during the critique, so I went and re-edited it:  alowvsignfront1 ^experimented with the exposure adjustment layer as well this time.

alowvsignfront2 Brightness/contrast layer as well ^ this is where both layers are visible together.

alowvsignfront3 alowvsignfront4 Just the levels adjustment layer ^ too bright?alowvsignfront5 ^too dark?

alowvsignfront7 The Levels is not visible, brightness/contrast and exposure are visible^ alowvsignfront9 ^compared how the brightness/contrast + exposure layer (left) looked vs the levels adjustment layer one (right).alowvsignfront10 There was  barely a difference, but I felt the one with levelshad a better haze/halo around the headlights. Cropping^ the image in different waysalowvsignfront11 wide crop^alowvsignfront12 ^tighter crop worked best

lowvsignpaint4 All the iterations ^

lowvsignpaint5 ^first 3 columns are paint, other two are marker pen.

lowvsignpaint6^First column is crossed using charcoal, 2nd is marker and last 3 are paint. With these images I struggled because it was a dark image overall, so the yellow and red didn’t show up. I had to paint white lines first, and then paint OVER them with either yellow or red.

Merging: Further discussion and expansion of ideas to experiment with

Before going off for eid break I discussed further with my professors about refining my signs’ forms. 

I got feedback such as the red lines being too thin:IMG_5364 Especially in the case of the global and local signs, because the entire cars showed, making the image too wide to be enlarged enough inside the circle: it had been forced to remain small. I had gotten so caught up in not making the look ‘toy-like’ that I didn’t consider that I could afford to make them less realistic for the sake of the sign and visibilty.

I was suggested that I could simply squish the cars horizontally, but I thought that then the four wheeler nature of the local car wouldn’t show. I thought I could simply add a tire to the back of the larger car.

Even the outlines/strokes of the cars seemed too thin to be visible from a distance.

I was very stuck on what to do for High Vernacular. We discussed where a high vernacular sign could be used. The professor questioned whether it always had to be a road sign, could it be stickers on the back of cars?

This triggered an idea in my head. I imagined a scenario where when police give tickets, they include/hand out stickers  FOR the people who could potentially flash – as a reminder for themselves – instead of a sticker as a warning to others.


^ Quick search I’d done to see what the conventional image for a reminder was (what colours, motifs etc.)

Merging: First critique and discussion

Had our first critique. We went around giving comments/suggestions on each others work. Some comments were more helpful than others (the one’s that didn’t give any constructive criticism weren’t helpful)

Nikko gave me some really helpful suggestions: there’s not enough difference between the visual language of the different signs – make global and local look less official to distinguish more between them and the official sign.  

I also got suggestions to alter my rays (make the flash look more like flashing instead of just like the flashers are on or so angled that it looks like the car’s crashing). In particular the rays of the unofficial one gave people the wrong information. Some people also got optically confused because of the way the angle of the flash looked on top of the angle of the diagonal red line (in global and local especially). IMG_5364In order of global/ local

official/ unofficial

high vernacular/ low vernacular


^My peers encouraged me to go in the direction of photographing for low vernacular. I showed this one to them for high vernacular, but it looked way too LOW vernacular. The image wasn’t clear enough, in terms of form AND in terms of content. Even the low vernacular one (with the exclamation mark) was grainy and unclear.


Merging: Final touches and final signs for first critique

Fixing wheel:Finaltouchwheellocal1 ^I wanted the outline of the wheel to be ‘transparent’ so that the red lines showed through


Finaltouchwheellocal3 ^ Did that by expanding the circle and then deleting the shape made from the stroke.Finaltouchwheellocal4

Finaltouchwheellocal5^ End look

The Final signs for the first critique:

Global                                                                           LocalCritsigns1

Official                                                                          UnofficialCritsigns2

High V                                                                           UnofficialCritsigns3

Unofficial (marked over this with a cross)             UnofficialCritsigns4

Marked a red exclamation mark over this:

High VernacularDSC_00793

Last minute decision to have this as another iteration of Low Vernacular (put a x over it with red marker as well)DSC_0055