Sunset Boulevard's got a rep to protect where billboards are concerned. In the late 1960s and 1970s, the Strip was known for its super-cool signage, as documented by photographer Robert Landau in his book Rock 'n' Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip. Now, billboards are billboards on the boulevard (with the exception of the occasional unique feature), but West Hollywood's starting to think about how it can once again make the Strip "a destination for innovative and exciting signage," Wehoville says. One idea: make rules for billboards that require them to be wild works of art.
Last week, in a presentation to the West Hollywood City Council, the city's Community Development Department presented some of their ideas on how to ensure that Sunset Strip advertising is artful and cool. Among their ideas: requiring the signs (both billboards and "tall walls," the giant signs on the sides of buildings) to have at least one of the following:
— Three-dimensional props and extensions
— Extensions with cut-out shapes or voids
— Integrated thematic lighting
— Moving or animated mechanical elements
— Different day-time and and night-time images
— Hand-painted graphics or graphics crafted on-site
— Alternative textures and materials such as plants and vegetation
— Live action
— Innovative technologies The rules would, however, limit extensions to the billboards in order to ensure that any added area "has a unique shape" and is artful, as opposed to just being a thing that makes the sign bigger. The goal is that, ultimately, the billboards would "use wit, creativity and originality with the goal of provoking a 'smile in the mind'" in those who see them. Cited as examples of these ideals in action: a vodka ad from New York that shows a vodka-bottle-shaped apartment's interior in 3D, and a "living" billboard from the Philippines that incorporated plants and proclaimed that it was sucking up air pollution.
These ideas are part of a bigger plan that the Community Development Department has for Sunset Strip development overall, which they're planning to present in the autumn.
· WeHo Wants to Get Creative with Signs on the Sunset Strip [Wehoville]
· 7 Photos of 1970s Rock and Roll Billboards on the Sunset Strip [Curbed LA]