Ah, the wonders of travelling abroad. Signage, as much as designers would like us to believe it to be true, is hardly universal. In my own voyages, most recently Iceland, exit signs look like this:
I have to admit, from an ‘objective’ perspective, the sign makes complete sense. Person walking toward door = exit. However, not what my Canadian brain is used to. My brain was like, WTF is does that mean, green is not the colour of exit, not now and not ever!
Oh yah, that is what I’m talking about. Red and with words and stuff! Brain Happy! Everything is normal and well! At least from a Canadian point of view. Recently, CBC hosted and article about American tourists on their trip to New Brunswick and their experiences with Canadian signage.
“What began as a minor puzzlement for my wife and me bloomed over the course of a few days into a full-on obsession,” he wrote of the various signs they encountered. “What in the name of Rob Ford were the road signs trying to tell us?”
Burr’s friends and family on Facebook were equally confused by a photo he posted of a green-and-white River Valley Scenic Drive signpost. None of the 2,845 people who weighed in on his post could reportedly identify it.
“The signs of New Brunswick’s highways and byways aren’t exactly done wrong, but they seem to require a cognitive leap of which our American sensibilities, enfeebled by reality TV shows and Katy Perry songs, are incapable,” he explained. “My wife and I found ourselves gazing across a semiotic void, one that necessitated a more elusive process of conversion than miles to kilometres, English to French, or American quarters to Canadian dollars.”
His interpretations are amusing. Here are some gleaned from the article.
I have my own to add to the list. I saw this on an elevator in Iceland:
Sign universality – one day it will happen I’m sure. :)