Blog on the landscape: billboards
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By Sophie Matthews-Paul
23 April 2012
This type of billboard probably wouldn't go down well in the British countryside
I can't fail to notice, the minute I visit many American states, how in the UK our use of billboards is really pretty minimal. This was brought home again to me recently when I visited Las Vegas, which surely epitomises all that is loud, bright and colourful. And no-one really minds.
Attitudes towards the use of billboards vary in the UK, from those who think they blight our surroundings to others who believe they offer enormous potential for promotional purposes. From the perspective of most display producers, the response is most likely to be 'bring it on' as this is a great opportunity for more work. On the other hand, a homeowner whose property faces a giant sheet of print or the effects of bright digital signage is less likely to be enthusiastic.
As it has become easier to produce larger displays, we're no longer talking about doubtful offerings posted in telephone boxes or temporary adverts plastered over bus shelters and nailed to trees and telegraph poles. Few of us can have failed to see trailers parked in the fields adjacent to our road and motorway networks, sporting local and national advertising and, while some people are ambivalent about the presence of these signs, others have complained vociferously about the adverse effects on our green and pleasant land. Additional criticism has been made about the distraction to drivers compromising safety for those at the wheel.
The trouble is, all large areas of print are welcomed by the industry. No-one intends to be indiscriminate when it comes to accepting jobs that might not meet personal approval, as long as they're above board. Nonetheless, there are rules which need to be obeyed and conditions recognised when producing displays which many consider to be an eyesore.
Certainly the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) has been lobbying for years for authorities to stamp on advertising that is a blot on the landscape but, as in so many walks of life, loopholes are discovered so that the practice continues. Section 224 (3) of the Town And Country Planning Act 1990 states quite clearly that anyone hoisting up a hoarding without the requisite permission is breaking the law.
I'm all for lots of large and eye-catching graphics but only in the right type of location and in a safe environment. But the UK isn't America and, generally, we have far less space in our urban areas where we can use large areas of superwide-format print.
Is this a new problem? Well, no, it isn't. There's a very interesting brief about advertising in the countryside here. Interestingly, the first recorded grumble was back in 1893 so we certainly can't pin the blame on digital print for this.
Comments in chronological order (Total 1 comments)
28 April 2012 12:25PM
Very colourful and attractive billboard. Your billboard only works when it attract people to see it. Otherwise, no one give a look at simple and non attractive billboard now a days.