Secret language of signs

A bright pink sign saying Wynyard and directions to the station.Placement and design of signs are things we don’t notice until we can’t find them or find them misleading or indecipherable. In some cases they can cause serious accidents, let alone wasted time or just plain confusion and inconvenience. One problem seems to be that the people who erect signs actually know where they are and have no thought for newcomers to the area or building. They just know they have to put certain signs on particular things, for example toilets. But putting them on the door alone only tells you that you have found them, not how to find them. Fortunately wayfinding and signage design has become a skill in its own right and specialist consultants are being used more frequently. The Slate Website link  to The Secret Language of Signs tells the story of how a bus was misdirected and the result was seven people killed. It also links to the other articles on signs and signage, including Legible London, and the Japanese designer who is responsible for beginning the trend to icons that can be understood regardless of language. The issue of signage for emergency exits promoted by Lee Wilson is also only part of the story for safety for people who cannot read or understand signs. Lee will be presenting a paper at the Universal Design Conference Aug 30-31 2016.

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