Friday, 18 November 2011

The Death of the Red Car System

It is of little known fact that the movie 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' holds a bit of truth to Los Angeles history. No, not about the fall of cartoons but rather the fall of the Red Car system (the cable car) and the rise of freeways and dependence on cars.

Nowadays when you picture Los Angeles transport, you think smog, traffic, millions of cars, and really all in all just grumpy miserable people commuting to work. But in the 1920s, the Red Car system in LA was the largest electric railway system in the world. Into the 1930s, there was such a large influence from the automotive companies, that large 'motor-ways' were built. What we know now as freeways. When traffic congestion increased, the solution at the time was to build even more freeways, with more lanes. Sadly, the cable car started seeing its death.

Throughout the year, there were many attempts to expand mass public transit but none of these ideas truly stuck around. It wasn't until the 1990s, that plans were made for LA to delve into the world of Subways. Currently there are only 4 underground lines, quite a sad number in comparison to the size/population of LA but it is slowly...very slowly becoming more popular.

Today it is best to compare Los Angelinos love of their cars to that of Americans and their attachments to their guns. 'You can't take my gun away!'

'You can't take my car away!'

I took a break from coming up with designs to make bus commuters happy, and decided to head back to the origin of my reasons for my subject. When stumped, head back to the beginning right? I've been trying to push myself out of my element so much, that I'm now in that uncomfortable phase. That uncomfortable era of 'What is my aesthetic? Where has my personal design style gone?' (I just quivered using the word style. Sagmeister has scarred me forever! In a good way of course). When diving into my typography explorations, I have picked up a vintage aesthetic. I was challenged to get away from this aesthetic, being that it is quite popular at the moment. Of course, I don't want to be a follower as a designer, I want to be a leader - how nice it would be to be ground breaking.

But when you look at my previous work, it definitely has a vintage effect to it.

What I have created thus far in this new exploration is combine these random vintage/original images with new type. I know this isn't quite ground breaking in the design world in general, but it is ground breaking personally for my own work. I'm going back to the beginning, the origin of my studies and I'm combining it with the modern world.

My works in progress: "Smile. You have public transportation."

Smile that you have public transportation. Smile that you don't have to sit in traffic everyday, that government and large automobile industries haven't forced you to purchase a car. Corporations haven't forced you to sit alone in your vehicle, making no connection to others. Rather companies are giving you the freedom to sit and interact with others. Relax, let the driver take control. You'll get to your destination.

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