Incentivising reduction is a sign of the times

Last week you asked ‘What product would you revive and how would you like to rejuvenate it?’ (Voxpop, DW 17 July). I’d suggest New York.

Its visual street landscape is so utterly chaotic that a Routemaster bus would simply be lost in the clutter. It is not just the energising cacophony of advertisements, people, shops, lights and noise. It is also the unbelievable layering of municipal signs upon signs, instructions and traffic guides that completely dominate every neighbourhood.

My proposal – incentivise reduction. Pay the culprits (designers, fabricators and city employees) the equivalent of the saved fabrication cost for all the signage they can remove, shrink, combine or make pleasing.

Imagine how quickly our streets would clear of visual noise if, instead of ad revenue for increasing the volume, we paid for the visual silence.

Jim Biber, Partner, Pentagram, by e-mail

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