Sign design

If you go into the loo today, you’re in for a big surprise…

This elegant and witty pastiche is in the Lighthouse in Glasgow.  Makes me feel the need to go just by looking at it.

This second one from Espresso Mondo in Edinburgh is more worrying: the arrow means I find it hard not to read it as a process diagram.

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3 responses to “Sign design

  1. I’m currently reading this: http://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Donald-Norman/dp/0385267746

    It’s fascinating. We live in a world where it’s possible to design a set of machines that will take a man to the moon and bring him home again. We live in a world where it’s possible to design an iPhone, with all of its capabilities, or a set of exoskeletal bionic legs that will allow the crippled to walk and soldiers to run with heavy loads. We live in a world, in summary, where it’s possible to design things that are indistinguishable from magic.

    We also live in a world where it’s still possible to get the design of something as simple as a door so wrong that it becomes literally painful or actually impossible to use. Indeed it’s something we all encounter so often that we don’t even remark on it most of the time because we’ve got used to it. Think about it – how long since you pushed a door you should have pulled, or vice versa? How can designers still be getting this so wrong?

    What we often think is “obviously” universal, and therefore “obvious”, is often far more pariochial than we think. For instance – I looked at that first sign and took them to be directions to where you need to go if you
    (a) have just been kicked in the crotch or
    (b) would like to be kicked in the crotch

    There’s a whole chapter on signs for toilets. Check it out.

    On a similar note, I was chatting with a friend this weekend who works for a motor manufacturer. They make luxury cars, aimed at really, really rich people. He was looking over the proposed advertising campaign, and something wasn’t quite right. It showed the plush interior of the vehicle, with a tray of glasses and a bottle of champagne. Surely the quintessential image of luxury? Well, yes. And no.

    He made a couple of phone calls, and as a result instructed the marketing department to repeat the photoshoot, twice – once with vodka instead of champagne, and once with whisky, which is apparently the preferred tipple of the rising Chinese oligarchs who my friend perceptively realised were nigh-on half the target market (the other half obviously being Russians), and who are culturally indifferent to champagne.

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