FALL, 09

Public sign use


To re-invent a restroom sign for both male and female. Your sign or symbol must be comprehendible to a Non-English speaking person who must "go" (visit the restroom) very badly. If your peers cannot designate which sign is male or female without the aid of the designer, the design is deemed “unsuccessful”. Word of advice: do not complicate the design, this will complicate the reading. Keep it simple, smart, and clean.

This project focuses on illustrating a representational image using abstract methods.
Competencies covered: positive / negative, figure / ground, shape, space, form, unity, and craftsmanship.


Graph paper
Sketch Pad
Sharpie markers (for sketching)
Illustration Board (hot or cold pressed),15 x 20 inches
Micron Pens
India Ink
Measuring tools
Exacto Knife


When designing think of alternative symbols that relates to a bathroom and/or gender. What do we do differently? What do we have that's different: Clothing? Body parts? Methods for practice? Can you think in metaphors? What symbols can replace gender, etc? What type of establishment would one use your design in? Think of different cultures, different time periods, consider themes (possibly a theme restaurant). When you begin to commit to an idea, use your design knowledge to make it work. Research “traditional” sign symbols, and examine how the designer simplified the subject matter (study the relationships of positive and negative space / figure and ground). You will not view signs again the same way once you understand the hours of labor involved both conceptually and physically. Good luck, and be creative. B. E. Creative. Also, pg-13 please.

Students will work in groups in the beginning to brainstorm and discuss possibilities.


-Canvas size (illustration board): 20 x 15 inches
-Image size: 2 images on one board with a line separating the 2 images down the middle (see original restroom sign example below)
-Only black and white (the ground or field will be part of the design)
-Must use Micron Pens and India Ink for final presentation
-DO NOT USE LINE, only shape.
-I may add more to the list during class


-Are you following the concept of the project?
- Neatness, precision, Intelligent and crafty use of the medium (no distractions from craftsmanship errors)
-Originality, problem solving, innovation
Composition (overall design)
Does your work feel balanced and unified (whole)?
-Does the project seem complete, developed/evolved, and well executed?