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County News
Taitung County Government Signboard Design Workshops to Promote New Aesthetic and Safety
Date: 2016-09-10    
Typhoon Nepartak seriously damaged and brought down numerous signboards in Taitung City, but the Taitung County Government has turned the destruction into an opportunity for change with a series lectures and workshops on signboard design. On September 10 at the opening event, Deputy-Magistrate Chen Jin-hu represented Magistrate Justin Huang in saying he hoped this would be an opportunity to promote exchanges between local and non-local designers so that local designers and advertisers could learn more, and also so that existing design problems would be discovered and remedied. Through the integration of local and non-local resources and people, signboard design in Taitung will become safer and more visually appealing.

The damage caused by Typhoon Nepartak ravaged the face of Taitung. While an enormous effort has been carried out toward removing damaged signs and recreating new ones, the Taitung County Government, local organizations, and merchants discussed the problem with a significant amount of support from local citizens, brainstorming on what could be done to fully integrate design and aesthetic for Taitung’s signboards. Moreover, by learning from the experience of well-reputed designers in western Taiwan and from abroad to meet with locals in related industrial and academic fields, the streets of Taitung are on the way to receiving an aesthetic makeover.

The first design workshop entitled “Small Signboards, Huge Landscape” began at 9:00 a.m. on September 10. Deputy-Magistrate Chen hosted the event, and over 100 other people were present, including a well-known Taiwanese architectural design professor, former Deputy-Magistrate Zhang Ji-yi, former chair Huang Rui-mao of the Tamkang University Department of Architecture, Agua Design founder Zhou Yu-ru, Director Wu Qing-rong of the Taitung County Government Publicwork Bureau, Director Yu Ming-xun of the County Government International Development and Planning Department, and people in the design and advertising industries from all over Taiwan. Deputy-Magistrate Chen stated that Typhoon Nepartak caused severe damage to signboards in Taitung City, changing the face of the urban landscape, but this is to be looked upon as an opportunity for improvement. Magistrate Huang had instructed him to form a team and actively investigate the best direction for the future of signboard design in Taitung. Lately, people have told the County Government that the economy in Taitung does not compare to that of other larger cities in Taiwan, and as such, all that can be done is to simply rebuild the unsightly sheet metal structures that the storm tore down. However, recent years have also produced much more aesthetic-looking options, so as long as a bit of thought is included in the design process, sheet metal structures can actually look quite decent. The local A’tolan House, which recently won the Red Dot Design Award and has become an aspect of pride for Taiwan, is a prime example of how design is changing in Taitung. With the collective brainstorming and effort of everyone involved, Taitung is making use of this chance to improve, become more beautiful, and continue growing into a city of international standards.

The event took place over two days. A lecture entitled “Flipping Urban Aesthetic—Experiences in Taipei” was given by Executive Director Wu Han-zhong of the World Design Capital Taipei 2016. Former chair Huang Rui-mao of the Tamkang University Department of Architecture then gave a lecture entitled “Preliminary Thoughts on Design for Taitung” (“Small Signboards, Huge Landscape”). Finally, Agua Design founder Zhou Yu-ru gave a lecture entitled “Manufacturing Small Signboards in Taipei”, which was on bringing a new aesthetic to the urban landscape. Furthermore, groups shared their experiences and went to look at the old-fashioned shops and buildings in downtown. They worked out what new signs should look like and explored the more recent additions to Taitung’s landscape. They also broke up into groups, creating mock designs for the streets of Taitung. All in all, the classes were enriching and helpful.

The County Government Publicwork Department stated that during these two days that brought together experts and people in the design and advertising industry, a promotion of exchange between those in the industry from Taitung and other regions of Taiwan came about with the sharing of experiences, lectures, interaction, and group workshops, which in turn will allow for an upgrade and a new developmental direction for the standards of signboard design in Taitung.