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SPECIFIER'S GUIDE (SIGNAGE): Everything's comin' up roses

A partnership between environmental graphic designers and developers sets the Galleria at Roseville apart from the competition.

Sarah Huie is on a mission. The Atlanta-based environmental graphic designer has a vision — a process where design, architecture, signage, and other disciplines are combined into a seamless whole that is more than the sum of its parts. Huie calls this process "creative fusion" and now she can proudly point to Urban Retail's Galleria at Roseville as an example of what it can do.

"This was an ideal project for Huie Design, because we worked with both marketing and development," she explains. As described in SCW's January issue, her design team was involved in the Galleria at Roseville from the beginning, and had an almost unprecedented amount of input into the project. Even now, Huie Design is consulted by Galleria at Roseville for promotions and other special graphics needs. "We've worked hard at trying to create an ongoing relationship," says Huie.

The flowery northern California landscape that surrounds Roseville inspired the town's name, and it also inspired the garden theme that runs throughout the Galleria at Roseville's design. Unlike some centers, Roseville's dominant design motif extends beyond a logo and a few signs. Even such small details as handrails bear the rose graphic, and excerpts from rose-themed poems can be found on blade signs throughout the food court. "There is a real integration between the building and the message," Huie notes.

Of course, not all roses are created equal. In nature, roses come in several different colors, and Huie Design appropriated these colors in order to provide a color-coded wayfinding system for the center. Each wing of the Galleria at Roseville has its own color scheme and matching rose design.

The Promenade features a yellow and gold wild rose, and the main color of the area is yellow. The North Common Area has a red and brown modern rose as its main motif, and red is the dominant color. The South Common Area has a miniature rose in delicate shades of blue as its mascot. Finally, the Main Entry displays a pink and red heritage rose. The result is a blend of form and function that clearly distinguishes the various sections of the mall while maintaining Roseville's unity of design.

One of the most noteworthy touches Huie Design provided was the Galleria at Roseville's unique logo. This whimsical design can represent either a rose or a woman wearing a wide-brimmed hat, depending on how you look at it. Canvas shopping bags emblazoned with this logo have been selling like hotcakes at the center, indicating that Roseville may be that rarest of creatures: A branded mall whose trademark logo is instantly recognizable and desirable to its patrons.

The same kind of optical illusion used in the logo is found in the food court, which has a unique ceiling fixture. From ground level looking up, it appears to be another rose. When you approach it from the mall's upper level, however, it is revealed as a beehive, complete with mechanical bees!

According to Huie, the bee motif is singularly appropriate to the food court area, since bees play such a valuable role in the growth of edible plants. In fact, the architecture of the food court was actually altered in order to accomodate the whimsical beehive fixture, another example of uncommon cooperation.

At the heart of Huie's vision is a fledgling discipline known as environmental graphics. "It's not just signage, where you are directing a person from Point A to Point B," Huie says. "It's something that enhances the environment, as well as giving people the info they need."

Before starting Huie Design in 1996, Huie, a member of the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers, founded the Environmental Graphics Division at Copeland Hirthler.

The entire Huie Design staff was actively involved in the Rosevile project, from senior designers Jacky Keogh and Michelle Stirna Scott to associate Michael Taylor and designer Megan Huntz. Sarah Huie considers teamwork to be essential to the creative process, and is adamant about not taking all the credit for the project.

Prior to implementing the design, members of Huie Design investigated the history of the surrounding area. "You have to do something that is going to relate to the people who are going to patronize the mall," Huie explains. Beside the standard demographic research, the history of the town was studied and used to enhance the center.

For example, the center's logo was inspired not only by the flowers that surround Roseville, but also by the legend of a pretty girl named Rose that the town is allegedly named for.

The result of this combination of creativity, hard work and integration of design and development is a center where signage and graphics feel like an integral part of the environment, rather than just being tacked on. When was the last time you saw a graphics package that was seamlessly integrated into the marketing and architecture of the center? The Galleria at Roseville is a unique project in the shopping center arena, and Huie Design's unique approach to environmental graphics is one of the major reasons why.

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