Your community mural planning group should have a few examples of what they like to show the artist, keeping in mind that if the community will participate in painting the mural, the design approach must allow this. There are differing levels of community participation in the painting process from color blocking in large areas to painting the whole thing.
Encourage the public to bring images of their favorite murals to generate discussion. For each image, ask about the colors, aesthetic, and the subject matter to get an understanding of why the image was brought in.
The images that the group looks at don’t have to be community murals, but keep in mind which type of collaboration the group has decided to do with the artist. If the imagery is very detailed and realistic, the community won’t be able to do much of the painting.
WALL TEXTURE / WINDOWS / DOORS
Thick or deep wall textures can impact the painting process which might affect the aesthetic of the mural, including some brick and corrugated metal. If the wall is interrupted by windows or doors, these can also affect the design. If you prefer for the doors to be painted on with the mural design, make sure you have permission from the building owner and inform the artist as well.
SIMPLE OR DETAILED? BOLD OR QUIET?
If the mural is outside, determine if there is foot and/or car traffic. This can influence how simple or complicated the design is. Also, determine the speed limit. If it is a location that will be seen at a higher speed, a simple design is best so that you don’t distract drivers. If the area is passed by pedestrians, its nice to have some areas of detail for the person walking by at a slower pace.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA?
Is this a wall where you want people to stop and take pictures in front of it? The design will need to include an area that a person can capture while also getting a good portrait.
BASIC DESIGN STYLES
- Abstract or Geometric Shapes
- Shapes in Backgrounds with some Recognizable Objects in Front
- Recognizable Images but Very Simplified/Illustrative
- Detailed Graphics (architecture, landscape, including Portraits)
- Combinations of these!
Keeping in mind that you need to first decide the level of community involvement with painting, here are a few examples of community-based murals from around Omaha to help get you thinking.