Bad signage – hide crucial info

When you sign the front of a building, the key bit of information users would want is the number. This is especially true on a long main street such as Elizabeth Street in Sydney.

Despite it being executed on a flat surface, designing effective signage requires an appreciation of 3D space. It is more than graphic design.

This sequence of photos shows the unfortunate results of what happens when a designer works on a signage project without a clue of what is around the final piece.

I am walking down Elizabeth Street looking for number 410. I think I am close but am not sure which is the doorway to the building. Could this be it?
badsignelizabethst1.jpg

Or have I overshot it? Why tell me what I already know – I am on Elizabeth Street. But is this 410?
badsignelizabethst2.jpg

Oh yes it is. When I peer into the entryway and see the number, tucked as far away from visibility as possible!
badsignelizabethst3.jpg

Had the designer been aware of the surrounding environment, instead of merely looking at a white flat surface of x-y dimensions, he/she would probably have come up with the following, more usable, solution.
badsignelizabethst4.jpg

Good signage is about easy wayfinding, not exploration!

2 comments

  1. Corporate Signage said:

    Do you know what it happens all over the world and i am forever trying to find numbers for business i am trying to visit but can you find it can you heck because the writting is in such small print on the wall that not even a mouse can read it . I am in the uk and it happens here .. like you said maybe they will maybe one day think and make it a bit larger to read and easier to find.

  2. Zern said:

    <sarcasm>Awww – but it looks sooo good on my computer screen when I am laying it out flat and without any of the nasty distractions call reality…</sarcasm>

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