Over the years our eyes and ears have been subjected to an ever-increasing barrage of brand and general advertising. Almost everywhere we look something is screaming for our attention, wanting us to take notice of an offer, a brand, an event or perhaps a service.
In the main street of most towns, the plethora of signage is both ugly and confusing. It rarely has much, if any relevance to the reason we are in that locality and conveys nothing of importance to us and the lives we lead.
From the business owner's standpoint, signage is essential in that it identifies the business and its location, but all too often their message is lost in the "signage circus" and just presents the equivalent of media "white noise".
The advent of social media and apps have widened the mix and changed for many of us the manner in which we shop and purchase goods, a mixed blessing in the eyes of many retailers. However, there is now a balancing phenomenon emerging that will see our cities reborn as destinations and places of intrigue and entertainment.
Enter the world of urban art, culture, the wide acceptance of digital arts and augmented reality. Light and colour change everything it touches and where this is shaped into form, we create a different reality than can be seen "untouched".
Case in point two images taken of the same subject, with the same camera, one in its unaltered state and one that has been edited with in-camera software; the difference can be quite dramatic and make a very different statement to the viewer.
Imagine a picture of an inner-city street, say our own Cameron St, Whangarei complete with the many brand and product messages splashed over the shopfronts.
Now see that same image with the advertising removed and its many rough edges smoothed and tidied - soothing isn't it! But of course, for the retailer, there is an obvious problem in identifying their business and product offers, to prospective customers.
Now let's look at the street again through a lens or device, that will allow us to see the subject overlaid with digital content, images or text. Now we can receive the message the store operator wants us to see, or if that information is not of interest, not see it!
Rather than see every store's brand/message at once, only information on the store at centre of view would be visible and if your level of interest is piqued, more information would be made visible.
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The bulk of this art form and technology is already here if you would like to hear and see more on the subject visit us or click strandlab or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ Stephen Smith is the Northland Chamber of Commerce's chief executive.