Day 199 (15 January 2011) – Intelligent Signs

This may very well be my all-time favorite sign. Not only is it funny, it’s to the point. I also think it treats you as if you already know how human beings use toilets and that seeing such a representation isn’t going to shock you. I spotted it while looking for, of all things, a bathroom while out in public. Needless to say, I had no trouble making sense of this sign. So, after fulfilling the reason of why I was interested in finding such a sign in the first place, I came back to it and took this picture. Not only that, I showed it to Melinda. She thought it was pretty cool, too, and she has a pretty discerning eye for all things design-related. Not that my approval of this sign needed her approval, mind you. But it felt validating to get it.

An acquaintance of mine is bestselling author Dan Pink. Dan is a fan of what he calls “emotionally intelligent signage” and posts regularly about the topic on his blog, providing examples. Here are a couple: Parking Lot ** Airport

Dan says that such signs appeal to people because they invoke the power and language of empathy. I certainly think we all share the feeling of knowing the discomfort of needing to find a bathroom now.

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