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Signs That Say So Much

Some signage is especially useful, thought-provoking, creative, fun or simply odd

  • A crosswalk sign that says Elderly on it, as seen at a dock in Miami Beach
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    Sensitive or Stereotyping?

    It's good to acknowledge that people in this harborside development in Miami Beach often cross the road. But why label the population and purpose of the crosswalk as being for the "elderly"? A crosswalk is useful for all pedestrians.

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  • Tourist information sign in Newport, Vermont, Signs that Say So Much
    Photo provided by AARP Vermont

    Way to Go!

    Wayfinding signage (like that displayed in Newport, Vermont) helps residents and visitors find their way. These types of signs are informative and a placemaking must.

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  • Public Restrooms sign, Loveland, Colorado, Signs that Say So Much
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    Where to Go

    One of the most common questions asked by any visitor is "Where's the bathoom?" or "Where's the nearest bathroom?" Signage in downtown Loveland, Colorado, provides several answers.

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  • Sign indicating the location of a rest room.
    Photo by Ken Reinhardt

    Really Gotta Go

    Tourists visiting the ruins of Pompei know exactly where to go regardless of what language they speak.

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  • Bicycle clearance warning sign, College Park, Maryland, Signs that Say So Much
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    Keep a Distance

    Who knew there's a law about the minimum distance a driver needs to keep when passing a bicyclist? This sign was posted in the window of a Maryland bicycle shop. 

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  • Alligator warning sign
    Photo by Terry Elder

    Seriously, Keep a Distance

    Don't even put a toe in the water. The illustration on this sign help makes the message clear to non-readers and non-English speakers, too.

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  • A hazard sign warning bicyclists in Portland, Oregon, of streetcar tracks in a roadway
    Photo by Brett VA

    Seriously, Heed the Warning

    This eye-catching image clearly shows bicyclists in Portland, Oregon, what can happen if their wheels enter the roadway's streetcar tracks.

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  • Quotation on Art, University of Maine, Signs that Say So Much
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    Deep Thoughts

    Among the quotations displayed from a hallway ceiling in a University of Maine arts center is this throught-provoking statement. Learn more about the connection between art and livability.

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  • Miami escalator warning, Signs that Say So Much.
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    Do What?!

    Lift their skirts!? An unexpected instruction on a sign adjacent to a Miami hotel escalator requires careful reading. 

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  • Parking garage warning signs, Signs that say so much
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    Who Needs to Stop?

    Who's supposed to stop the pedestrians? Are the pedestrians supposed to stop? Do the drivers stop? This sign in a supermarket garage is well-intentioned but confusing.

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  • School bus, sleeping children, Signs that Say So Much
    Photo by Solon Snider/Start School Later

    Time to Wake Up, Again

    A variation of this signage is placed on the back window of school buses in many districts, especially those where schools start so early in the morning, and require such long bus rides, that sleep-deprived students regularly conk out. 

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  • A wheelchair route directional sign
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    On a Roll

    The new symbol for handicap parking and access depicts an active wheelchair user who's on the move — unlike the seated figure that appears in the traditional iconography (inset). 

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  • Inclusive Restroom sign,  Frick Environmental Center, Pittsburgh, Signs that Say So Much
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    A Bathroom Stall for All

    The signage outside this single-user restroom at the Frick Environmental Center in Pittsburgh indicates that the facility is usable by all — regardless of age, gender or physical ability.

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  • Duck Ramp, fountain, Washington, D.C., Signs that Say So Much
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    Fowl Friendly

    The fountain at the National Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., provides a way for web-footed visitors to enjoy the water. 

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  • Union Market, Messages, sign board, Signs that Say So Much
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    Write it Down!

    Public chalkboards and listening posts allow and encourage visitors (of all ages) to share their thoughts. The Union Market in Washington, D.C., features several of these chalkboards, each with a unique question or prompt.

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  • History trivia game, Conflict Kitchen, Signs that Say So Much
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    What's Your Answer?

    A history trivia game entertains visitors to the Conflict Kitchen, a dining kiosk in Pittsburgh's Schenley Park Plaza, as they wait to order or receive their food.

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  • Restroom warning sign, BWI, Signs that Say So Much
    Photo by Melissa Stanton

    Very Good to Know

    The international arrivals area at Baltimore-Washington International Airport provides very important information to travelers headed for customs. 

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Slideshow published December 2016

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