Fascinating article on the work of Lauren O’Neil, a Brooklyn-based designer who uses Google Earth to capture images of airport runway layouts. Joseph Flaherty, writing for WIRED:
O’Neil turns those strictures [airport runways] into art, with the help of Google Earth. The Brooklyn-based designer has made a meticulous study of airport runways and logged the results on a Tumblr called Holding Pattern. These views reveal beautiful compositions at airports that are nothing special at ground level.
I especially enjoyed the section regarding runway typography:
Airports use a specialized font to number their runways. It’s highly geometric, which eliminates confusing curves and can be reduced to simple schematics, making it easy for groundskeepers lacking typographic training to recreate. The font apparently has no name, but the numbers are called “runway designators” in pilot parlance.
Had you shown this font to me, out of context, I may have laughed at you. A good reminder that “design” can take many forms, but the best designs are always at the intersection of real-world use and user context.
—Saturday, 24 May 2014