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environmental graphics

It was “The Silicon Valley of the 19th Century.”

For roughly 100 years — from 1818 right through to the early years of the 20th century — the West Point Foundry in New York’s Hudson Valley was one of America’s great industrial and innovation centers, designing and manufacturing armaments that helped turn the tide of the Civil War, as well as a steady stream of steam engines, industrial machinery, cast-iron fittings, and more. Changing times and technologies ultimately led to its abandonment, and the 87-acre site fell into disrepair. In 1996, it came under the protection of Scenic Hudson, an advocacy group which works to restore the Hudson River and surrounding landscape.

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Scenic Hudson, in turn, commissioned C&G Partners, the award-winning multi-specialty design studio based in Manhattan, to design interpretive graphics, signage and exhibits for its new West Point Foundry Preserve. C&G Partners has counted Yankee Stadium, JFK Airport, the Hearst Corporation, and the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation among its past and present clientele for signage, wayfinding, exhibits and environments. The goal of the project for Scenic Hudson: to bring to life the history and spirit of the Foundry while enhancing it as a destination for recreation and contemplation.

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2013 was a pretty good year for Timothy Goodman. We hate to pat ourselves on the back but we sort of told you so. Last January, GDUSA selected Goodman as a Person to Watch. This past summer, while he was busy dating Jessica Walsh and documenting every moment of their courtship, he somehow fit in the design of a 60-foot  installation at Airbnb’s San Francisco offices.

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Every morning as I walk my children to school I take a peek at the wonderful window display at One Girl Cookies. I love everything about this bakery down to the aqua hued walls, patterned wallpaper, cut crystal globe lights and vintage details which are all perfectly suited to my Brooklyn neighborhood. Blown up vintage family photos and a hand painted family tree adorn the walls of this carefully-curated shop.

As a designer, it is so wonderful to see so much care put into the overall look of the bakery down to the sepia-toned letterpress business cards. And let’s not forget the cookies, cupcakes and their signature whoopie pies-simply divine. What makes this bakery the most inviting are the owners, Dawn Casale and Dave Crofton. From the moment, they opened their bakery down the block from my house their warm smiles have made One Girl Cookies a neighborhood favorite.

You may ask where I am going with this story (my husband asks that a lot) but I will get to my point in a moment. One day, as I passed by the shop I noticed their Thanksgiving pie display and in particular a whimsical sign sitting beside the pies. I had never seen signage like this at the store so I decided to inquire who had done it. It turns out it was the handy work of  Felix van Dam & Winneke de Groot, two graphic designers from Holland, living in Brooklyn for a while.

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CV&E-Pontiac-13252

Somewhere between environmental graphics and architecture lie Detroit’s Woodward Avenue Tributes, conceived by New York-based environmental graphic design firm Calori & Vanden-Eynden (C&VE). Landmarks during the day and beacons of identity at night, the tributes are a source of visual distinctiveness and civic pride, helping to rebuild the spirit of a city broken by recession and the implosion of the automobile industry, now focused on renewal.

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