Advertising is the art of drawing people’s attention to promote the sale of a product or service by using attractive pictures, slogans, or demonstrations. Hoardings, signboards, billboards, flex, posters, etc. are the outcomes currently all over the place which seem less of an art and more vandalism.

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One of the squares (chowk) of a city in India with hoardings rising above buildings. ©www.deccanherald.com
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A building in SAP Street, Hyderabad ©www.newindianexpress.com

Every building constructed has characteristics guiding people for its utility. Hoardings with bright colors and visuals with a variety of fonts and sizes appear like visual chaos on roads and all buildings. The steel framing hanging from the top, standing on top, jutting out of the ground, or hugging the poles wherever the eyes roll mark for a serious safety issue; the main concern is structural stability and damage it does to the building. The building with such a heavy framework and winds were not designed for these additional loads of hoardings when stumbled upon harsh weathers lead to fatalities. Another reason is that hoardings have obliterated the entire buildings. All these in a way have led to the death of the aesthetics of facades in small and medium buildings. The features of the façades are no more visible or appear shanty and misappropriate.

The ‘All good in the hood’ is deceptive. The users within the buildings covered with flex all around are deprived of good views or rather no views, light, and ventilation through the openings. The large inverted pictures of advertisement men, women, or kids adorn their day and night visuals changing over a while. The non-standardized size and location of the hoardings have misguided makers in making bigger and larger advertisements to become dominant over and over again.

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Similarly, development hoardings also play an important part in the construction industry in promoting a scheme. Installed around the perimeter of the site grabbing attention from the passerby with sometimes mindless repetition of information and visuals has set its trend. Walking next to an under-construction site is nothing but enjoyable due to curiosity for the work happening inside, the unavoidable noise, and movement in work. Hoarding advertisements along the streets as a fence are reasonably among the most lively and eye-catching opportunities in outdoor marketing but are also somehow underexploited. There is a bit of understanding in making them work for a business, but their scarcity compared with other forms of advertisements makes them hugely effective. Why can’t these development hoardings be an interactive art for pedestrians? Or a canvas? A UK-based construction, architectural, and engineering firm, Prime build has launched the ‘Canvas for London’ initiative for artists around the city to display their work on construction site hoardings.

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Primebuild hoarding canvas ©www.primebuild.co.uk
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‘Canvas for London’ Initiative ©www.primebuild.co.uk

With gentrification around the world and advancements in technologies, there have been few examples of advertisements and hoardings worth learning from also. New minimalistic and impactful examples put on streets with utmost simplicity resonating powerful messages.

1. The Economist, UK

The billboard installed on the footpath for pedestrians senses a person passing under the light bulb with motion sensors causing the bulb to turn ON advertising that reading ‘The Economist’ will expose one to great and bright ideas.

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©www.hubspot.com

2. Stockholm, Sweden

A digital advertisement assembled on the column at a metro station in Stockholm with metro schedules programmed, when a train arrives at the platform the stationary girl’s hair starts to blow around wildly highlighting the brand’s slogan: “Makes your hair come alive” to unveil its new line of hair products.

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©dailymail.co.uk

3. UTEC, Peru

In Lima, Peru with 0.51inch of annual precipitation people are suffering from lack of drinkable water. In response, UTEC partnered to create a billboard that produces drinking water from atmospheric humidity/ water vapor which in Lima is 98%.The billboard produced 9,450L of drinking water in its first three months. This billboard was created as a solution to a problem that has changed people’s lives.

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Installed digital billboard in Lima, Peru ©reprogrammingthecity.com
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The working of the idea ©reprogrammingthecity.com

4. Garnier Sunscreen, Mumbai. India

The billboard was installed alongside a road with a tilted roof printed with an advertisement on the bottom surface. The tilted top provides shade to the pedestrians thus demonstrating what the product offers, sun protection.

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Social experiment with advertisement hoarding in Mumbai, India © www.adsoftheworld.com

5. Kit Kat, at various places

Kit Kat with the slogan ‘Have a break, have a kit-kat’ has portrayed the idea of taking a pause innumerable times on streets amusing the city pedestrians, giving smiles, and making the atmosphere lively.

Circular seating with Wi-Fi hotspot, Netherlands ©adsoftheworld.com
Swing installed at a crossing in Melbourne, Australia © www.danandstu.com

Just a Thought…

Every building design must be respected and accepted to become a part of the city keeping in mind the need for advertisements. Few decisions related to current advertisement scenarios can lead to big changes. Following are a few suggestions:

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  1. The use of monochromatic color schemes for hoarding background can help in merging in the surrounding context without overpowering.
  2. Encouraging meaningful and helpful signage in all areas.
  3. Limitations on the size and height of the hoarding boards as well as the steel framing for safety and less consumption of steel.
  4. Standardizing location and size of hoardings for shops along the street will enhance façade aesthetics and lead to an organized visual character on streets.
  5. Limitations on luminance and duration of advertisements will help in controlling harsh, sharp, and flashy lights harming the visual atmosphere.
  6. Establishing a scrutiny board of members for approval of the design for advertising.
  7. Commercial buildings designed with prior provisions for advertisements for recessed and guided placements.
  8. Marketing and advertising by educating and empowering the society rather than getting influenced by the herd mentality of portraying mega boards.
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Blending with natural surroundings ©presson.co.uk
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Display for public service ©presson.co.uk
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Depicting movement corridor for people ©presson.co.uk
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Simple and efficient with no overpowering font or colors ©presson.co.uk

With the idea of keeping the purpose the same but changing our methods and approach towards advertisements and hoardings/billboards, we can bring a great impact on people and our surroundings in response to keeping the identity and character of the cities intact.

Author

RuchiKumbhani is currently a final year B. Arch student at PVP College of Architecture, Pune. She is a curious mind & travel enthusiast. With few days of intense binge indoors to days of cycling outdoor, she loves to observeinterrelationship of different settings/spaces and penning her thoughts over it.

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