How many different signs does the average person get exposed to every day? At least hundreds. There are over 1000 different variants of highway signs, not even thinking about signs in parks. And how many attempt to engage the viewer?
The posting of signs posted in Sydney parks are pretty special in that they engage dog walkers while bring a smile to our faces. What a clever idea! The message is serious (dogs must be on leash), but the art is fanciful and engaging, especially to dog owners.
Wouldn’t it be great if more signs made an attempt to engage the viewer? Manhattan has a problem with dog walkers allowing their pets to urinate on the flower we lovingly cultivate at the base of trees. Each block tries to convince dog owners to STOP THAT. Almost always, these are pleading or punitive. Perhaps it would work better to follow the Australian lead.
Highway sign designers could also be encourage to test their signs with visitors. Too many signs are only for those who already know where they are going. My pet peeve is the Long Island Expressway. Signs are 3-letter acronyms, e.g. GMT 15 minutes. CIE 10 minutes. No, GMT doesn’t mean Greenwich Mean Time, it means Queens Midtown Tunnel and CIE equals Cross Island Expressway.
Especially tourist areas need signs that viewers can understand, and even better, signs that engage and bring a smile.
by Dr Sabra Brock, co-founder of Idea Spies