Sunday 31 March 2024

A sign of the times 5/5

Hikers in the Canadian Parklands will be pleased to know that a blue and white sign of an outhouse will tell them where they can get relief. It is just one of 8,400 official signs and symbols in the beautifully produced book. The sixteen chapters cover every conceivable information signage from around the world. 

The author, Mies Hora is particularly proud of the 549 signs from China, many of course, follow international standards but looking through the pages it's clear that many are probably unique to the country, the medical section has a sign for 'Facility for the visually handicapped', one for a Pharmacy and another for a Chinese pharmacy. Two for transport shows 'Hard seat' or 'Soft seat'. Some of the visual solutions are particularly clever.

To show the book's comprehensiveness there are chapters on national flags, 231 of them (as thumbnails) signal flags, hand sign language, braille, musical notation, weather (one is 'Moderate or heavy snow or rain and snow mixed or hail at time of observation; Thunderstorm during the hour'). Each chapter has an interesting two or three-page essay with a historical analysis of the following pages. My favorite is the international one for 'Electric shaver outlet' with the abstract man's face, the shaver and some whiskers.

The book is also used as a catalog for finding any symbol on the publisher's CD-ROMS or online. All of the work in the book is from high-quality vector files and printed on good matt art paper.




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