Capturing the Magic

Published on: July 18, 2017

After exhausting the rides and lines during a recent trip to Disneyland, the surroundings piqued our interests. 

How is Disney able to transport its visitors to other places and times, better than anyone? While the buildings do a good job of replicating a variety of architectural vernaculars, most are simply large, plain warehouse structures that contain the various attractions. It is apparent that the real determinant of their success in conveying the feel of different eras and varied locations is through the signs. If you stripped the parks of their signs and graphics, you’d be left with pretty plain vanilla streetscapes. 

The Disney theme parks should really be considered living signage museums. Signage designers work with a limited vocabulary of variables. Form, color, materials, lighting and especially typographic fonts are the elements that shape how a sign looks and the message it conveys. The resultant messages go way beyond the words.

Take a look at this gallery of Disneyland signs and see the impact signage design can make in creating a mood and telling a story.