World Sign
Vol. 54: Plastic Signs Assuming a Variety of Forms

Plastic signs are relatively unusual in Western Europe, but they are frequently used in the Baltic countries. Plastic is frequently used as a common material for overhanging signs and small wall signs. But the way these signs are used differs radically from Japan.

First of all, there is considerable formal variety. One sees triangular forms, semicircular forms, and curved surfaces. Next, plastic is often combined with other materials. One sees plastic combined with intricate metal frames, combinations of two blocks, and plastic combined effortlessly with neon tubes. The concepts at work here are highly ingenious. Each item has its own individuality and is delightful to see. I had never imagined that plastic signs could be so attractive and that plastic could be such an interesting material. Such signs in Japan are almost always square, rectangular or box-shaped, and I couldn’t help wondering how this difference might have arisen.

Rectangular forms involve little trouble and can be completed in next to no time. The low cost makes them particularly attractive to clients. However, the crucial matter is the attitude of the designer. In Japan, even in the case of the design of small signs, it seems that we’re too inclined to start with the layout of lettering and forms within rectangles.

The photograph was taken in the city of Kaunas in Lithuania.

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