Thinking back to Part 3 - Visual Communications, it seems to me that the function of Marianne Straub's textiles is to communicate a number of desirable values and attitudes:
- The pattern of the materials, particularly when viewed down the length of a bus or a train carriage, creates or supports an identity for the transportation company. Once seen and recognized, the fabric is a constant reminder of a consistent 'brand.'
- The quality of the materials used speak to the care that the transportation company is trying to show to its patrons. Public transport featured molded plastic seating without fabric for a while, no doubt because the seats were more durable and easier to clean. At the same time, the plastic seats were slippery, uncomfortable in summer (too hot) and winter (too cold) and could be read as a message to patrons that they were dirty and not deserving of better things.
- The patterns chosen, although they seem outdated or even 'retro' now, would have been meant to convey a sense of modernity. Once again, this is a tacit message about the transportation company: we are a modern, forward-thinking company and we expect our patrons to recognize this and value the service they are paying for.
- Depending upon the type of pattern chosen, there may also have been a desire to make the connection with the home environment. In this sense, patrons are visually encouraged to see their seat as an extension of their living room, a place to be comfortable and relax (rather than a train or bus crammed with other commuters). The association of the home may also encourage patrons to take better care of their surroundings because they have a personal / emotional connection with them.