No Exit

It’s taken me a long time to figure out what’s wrong with this sign, at the Westport Arts Center parking lot on Riverside Avenue.

Finally, I got it.  And it’s not 1 problem — it’s 3.

  1. “Exit” is underlined — but it’s the wrong word.  Underlining emphasizes a word — but the word that should be emphasized is not, not “exit.”  Underlining “exit” makes drivers who look quickly think it is the exit.
  2. All the words are the same size.  Who will even bother to read this?  It needs a good graphic to grab drivers’ attention — a “stop” hand, a red slash, an exclamation point, maybe something bold and italicized!
  3. What’s with the quotation marks around “danger”?  It looks almost mocking — this is “dangerous,” ho ho.  All sign makers should be required to take a course in design.  And punctuation.

12 responses to “No Exit

  1. At a theatre near here a sign says:
    “No smoking
    is permitted”

    I claim this is incorrect usage, and the sign should read:

    “Smoking is NOT

    Are you on my side?

  2. Reminds me of a famous sign that actually appeared on the George Washington Bridge during WWII.
    “In Case of Enemy Attack,
    Do Not Stop.
    Drive off Bridge.”

  3. Larry Perlstein

    I’ve always had a problem with “bridge freezes before road” signs. Wouldn’t it be simpler to say “bridge may be slippery”?

  4. Love this post. I am a stickler for proper signage as well. Nicely done!!

  5. If that bothers you I suggest you take a look at this site:

  6. Know what’s worse than quotation marks? When people use them with parantheses, such as, “The Representative Town Meeting (“RTM”)….” Lawyers are among the biggest offenders.

    BTW, my favorite sign was one I saw in a pizza parlor in Times Square. It said, “We offer defibrillators for our customers.” That conjures up so many scenarios. I can just envision a person in full cardiac arrest buying a slice so he can use the defibrillator.

    • And in terms of parentheses, what about writing Arabic numbers that follow the written words? Lawyers do this a lot, but I see it in a lot of other communication too (probably because lawyers are involved): “Travelers are limited to two (2) carry-on bags.”

  7. Gary Singer

    O.K. Here’s another wonderful sign I took a photo of, along a small road somewhere west of Denver, in the foothills of the Rockies.
    ” When This Sign is Under Water
    Road is Impassable”