Merging: Panic, re-testing, final submission and analysis

Stuff just didn’t fit!! Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 12.33.46 PM Got them to fit with making extra layers and a combination of extra lines. There’s probably a more professional and cleaner way to do this, but I was panicked and was running out of time.

finalrefinecarsigns5Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 9.18.54 PM

^I realised that I left my low vernacular sign like this after I had printed it. So I had to fix and reprint.

Note for the future: I need to learn to manage my time better.


My second phase of testing didn’t involve my school friends (my age). I asked other friends and family (parents, cousins, sister), the age group ranging between 23 and 55. Learning from my past testing I tried making my questions more detailed, so that I could get better feedback.





Wrote this to put up next to the signs on the wall. Wanted to add this at the end: ‘placed by the driver inside his/her own car as a reminder.’ But that part didn’t seem necessary.



Overall, I found this project much harder than I had thought I would. I struggled to expand the differences between my signs’ different contexts. And after the results of my second testing, I don’t think I succeeded in my goals of making clear signs. In my defense. I think that usually signs are taught in driving school, so with just that bit of a hint towards the right direction, it would be difficult to misinterpret my signs. The one that wouldn’t be taught would be the low vernacular one, which was the most successful in terms of giving the information.

My experience so far made me want to keep a few things in mind for the future. Like how when testing, don’t just test the low vernacular one…I also really need to work on the types of questions I ask. I ended up having to probe the answers I wanted out of the people, with further questions, because the first question wasn’t effective enough.

I got better at thinking about things in different contexts, but it was VERY hard for me to do this. I had to consult a lot of different people (peers, professors, family) to help me do this.

Improvements I could make would probably be improving my global, local, official and unofficial signs further and testing them some more, to get to a very clear bunch of signs. The high vernacular doesn’t need to be that clear since it’s function is completely different from the rest of the signs. It could probably even come with writing behind the sticker-patch, explaining the problems with flashing.

Although, I have to say I’m still unsure of what merging is. I THINK I merged the feedback I got from different people to help me come up with one sign. In fact, I did that A LOT. Working and merging? with feedback. I merged information that I had gathered about the conventions of signs (the colours and forms). If that’s what merging is then I think the majority of my project’s process revolved around merging…

Merging: Final refinements of signs

The tip in the high vernacular sign was pulling the eyes to it (I wanted the attention on the exclamation mark in the centre of it).finalrefinecarsigns7finalrefinecarsigns8I also tried doing something about the pizza colour scheme, experimenting with shades of red and complimentary colours (of yellow):finalrefinecarsigns9finalrefinecarsigns10Too girl aimed^ ? finalrefinecarsigns12 finalrefinecarsigns13 carsigns3

^ Went with the one in the bottom row (not too red, not too pink. Kind of pastel – high vernacular? Sticker colour?)carsigns6 Had to fix the gestalt of the local sign:finalrefinecarsigns14 finalrefinecarsigns15 finalrefinecarsigns16 Getting the thicknesses of the wheels to compliment the thickness of the diagonal stroke:finalrefinecarsigns17 finalrefinecarsigns18 finalrefinecarsigns19 finalrefinecarsigns20 This ellipses spare wheel looked weird^finalrefinecarsigns21 rounded rectangle ^finalrefinecarsigns1 Made this^

finalrefinecarsigns2 Printed it and made a last minute rush to pick a lighter image, because otherwise it was too dark. I chose to keep the shape of the image a rectangle, and not the square I’d been suggested, because it looks like a lower vernacular sign now. finalrefinecarsigns4 Censoring the face and numbers that I didn’t notice before.

finalrefinecarsigns5Had aligned the labels, but because of the odd shapes of each sign, they had to be adjusted and not perfectly aligned.

Merging: Tightening the ‘gestalt’



  1. an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.
    So initial google searches showed me that gestalt was an Escher like optical illusion/double image thingy:
    Apparently that was all wrong and I shouldn’t listen to that. Gestalt actually umbrellas a bunch of visual principles, that when followed create an image with high ‘gestalt’/balance. I think.

    So I should try doing things like making the ray parallel to the diagonal line and making the stroke around the cars half or a third of the stroke of the circle, I think.

    I compared images to see which to use for the low vernacular sign:

compareheadlights2 compareheadlights3

When trying to make everything look “balanced” I found that my flashes weren’t exactly symmetrical. Had to fix that:refiningray  Focused on the unofficial sign (the one on the right looks clearer AND more unofficial). I also altered the form of my unofficial cars because distinguishing between the front and back was a problem:

Before                                                                           Aftersigngestalttight2

Measuring the thicknesses of lines:signgestalttight3 signgestalttight4 signgestalttight5 signgestalttight6 ^Fixing annoying parts like these

Again, comparing the thicknesses of strokes/shapes (stroke of ray compared to wheel for example)

signgestalttight7 3/4 ^signgestalttight8 black didn’t show upsigngestalttight9 signgestalttight10 Still not working^signgestalttight11 Getting closer^signgestalttight12 Yay!^ signgestalttight13  signgestalttight15 signgestalttight16 Just checking to make sure I don’t have any stray paths/shapes^ cmd+y

Getting the lit part of the car in the front to match the rest of the image was a nightmare. When I altered the shape of my car, I’d also altered the shape of where the wheel fits.


And getting the strokes of everything to match and look like a whole was just…:signgestalttight18 signgestalttight19 Green for clearer look at what’s happening^

signgestalttight20 signgestalttight21 signgestalttight22 Ughhh!!!^^^

signgestalttight23 I had to momentarily turn of the snap to point and smart guides feature of illustrator. This allowed me to move the wheel the minute distance that I wanted to move it (otherwise it just kept snapping into a position that was slightly off).signgestalttight24 The yellow didn’t look clear enough. I gave myself the creative license to assume that the official, global and local signs would most likely use fluorescent paints to paint the yellow parts. Unofficial wouldn’t, so I had to come up with  a different solution ^ strokes and a slight change in colour.signgestalttight26

Merging: Last critique before deadline

15 - 13 

Had these iterations on the wall for critique:

Global:carsigns4Made the stroke of the circle bigger. I also made the colour of the circle black and not red, to distinguish it from the official sign. (Did the same with the local sign).

Local:carsigns9Narrowed the cars a bit, to be able to enlarge them

Official:carsigns6Made the ray of light parallel to the diagonal line


High Vernacular:carsigns10

Low vernacular:carsigns7added these at the end/last minute, I felt the painted iterations looked way too ugly.

Comments I made on my own work:

15 - 16 15 - 15 15 - 17 IMG_5911 15 - 23 15 - 20 15 - 19After looking at the low vernacular one^

carsigns8 My professor told me to imagine THIS ^ as the headlights of the car…I kind of stupidly/sheepishly stared at what she made me do, then at her and back.

It had been in front of my face the whole time and I’d been going around it in circles. So. Stupid.

After commenting on my own work, I realised that I could try making the unofficial more unofficial by putting a rectangle around it:carsigns1^ Nope. None of those iterations looked right. Ideas sound so good in my head, when they materialise it’s a completely different story.

I was also recommended to increase the level of ‘gestalt’ in my work. I’m still so very unsure of what that word means, and everyone pronounces it differently (not that the pronunciation will help me understand the meaning). What I got was that everything needed to look in BALANCE. Everything needed to look like it went together (was one picture) and not just forced together. A kind of visual harmony? So if the circle is bold, the strokes around the cars shouldn’t be thin. I’m not going for a shocking juxtaposition, I need a visual balance.


^ First attempts at that…

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.