Give Me a Sign!

Just behave.  OK?

Just behave. OK?

Once you start looking, the world is full of signs, information, exhortations and prohibitions.  Usually my eye would just skim over them as part of the noise in the city that it’s simply easier to filter out.  I was fascinated by the number of different demands that were affixed to the gates of this otherwise very modest building site in Southwark.  Especially odd, when you take a moment to think about it, is the ambition to improve the ‘image of construction’.  Really?  Like this?

Later that week, with my temporarily heightened awareness of signs, I saw this one on the Regent’s Canal

2013-05-08 13.06.44

Now this one is interesting for the fact that the words are essential to the comprehension of the instruction – the pictograms seem too capable of alternative interpretation: only people in pairs?  Only men’s cycles? Only adults with an appended child?  The evidence of the behaviour of most cyclists we encountered that day suggests that literacy is not well established in their community, so really, the sign-makers should reconsider the visible attributes that make a cycle ‘considerate’.  And perhaps an audible prompt to remind them of the ‘two tings’ concept?

Leave a comment


  1. This was good. I never notice signs now I my curiosity is temporarily peaked.

    • Thank you. I just don’t seem to be able to not notice signs; so many of them are ridiculous.


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