Those who read city blogs like BlogTO and various urban-minded Flickr feeds may have seen photos of a series of official looking signs around town that warn good Torontonians of homeless conditions nearby. Are they official? Is Toronto even more progressive than we thought? It turns out they are the work of Mark Daye, a 4th year graphic design student at OCAD.
Instead of rebranding a product, or service for my 4th year thesis project I chose to represent a local population that usually gets overlooked. I re-coded official signage and affixed 30 of them to poles in the downtown core with messages pertaining to an obvious but ignored urban sub culture. The goal was not only to catch people off guard by creating signs that acknowledge the homeless population on a seemingly official level, but to get people to think about codes of behaviour, conformity, acceptance and to maybe spare some consideration for the homeless who live mostly ignored in the city, blending into the background just like the signs.
Daye went on to say that the amount of feedback he’s got from the sign project has been good, and that “If I have learned anything it’s that Toronto has a lot of interested people who actively look at the city, not just travel through it”.