Monday, August 4, 2008

Anamorphic parking garage signage... the kind of thing that wins design award...

...but shouldn’t—for several reasons:

(1) Signage in this kind of environment is most useful to those who are in the wrong place and/or on the wrong path; not only does this signage fail to serve them, but it introduces additional ambiguities and disorientation. (2) It assumes clear lines of sight, but they’re likely to be obscured by other traffic. (3) This signage uses color in arbitrary or counterconventional ways: green for “in” contrasted with red for “out” rather than green for “go” and red for “stop” (and for fire equipment), blue for “up” and yellow for “down” (which conflicts with other use of yellow for stop lines, warning on pylons, etc). (4) It obscures practical geometries (for example, tight turns on ramps) and introduces lots of unresolved factors (red lines that run across walkways into the roadway). The whole idea privileges the distracting satisfaction of watching a discombobulated illusion ‘fall into place’ rather than helping to drivers to find their way while watching out for other traffic as it enters and exits at unexpected angles).

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