Sunday, June 30, 2013

You are approaching the future...

Thinking about the futureThis sign is at the National Museum in Canberra.

This is one of my favourite museums.   They have really really interesting exhibitions, an excellent permanent exhibition and an amazing building.  I think the building builds excitement as you walk towards it seeing the curve of orange towering above you.  There are lovely views over the lake as well.

This sign is on the way to part of the museum.  I thought it was asking an excellent question for the end of blogjune.  I thought it was suggesting a proactive rather than a passive approach to the future.  It is also suitably ambiguous as we all make and are made by our environments.  It seems to require conscious action.

It has been another fun blogjune. I am still catching up with lots of fabulous posts written by many amazing people - so part of my future will be reading more blogjune posts.

I already have a ticket...

Message about ticketsThis sign is at the National Gallery in Canberra.  It is about their current exhibition which is well worth seeing.

They had more complex information to convey, but it broke into three parts - hence the bigger writing on the sing.  This meant that you did not have to read the whole sign, just the part which related to your circumstances.

They were saving your time and giving you the information you needed, easily.  There were several of these panels on the way in, so which ever way you approached the gallery you were likely to see them.

I was interested that none of the signs had social media connections, but perhaps I missed them.

The signage for the exhibition was excellent.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Put your sign where it matters

Podcast information This sign is encouraging people to download podcasts about the western MacDonnell Ranges, and other national parks in the Northern Territory.  This sign is in a location with mobile coverage.  This is really sensible.

Many national parks do not have mobile coverage and it would be really irritating to see this sign in one of those places.
Seeing it where there is mobile coverage, so you could actually download the podcasts is excellent.

Do you have any signs designed to irritate?  Or are they like this one, in the right place and even including the url to make it really easy to find the podcasts?

It worked well as a promotion to, letting people know about different places they could go in national parks.

You can see the links to the stories here. (Note there are a few issues about the names of the stories).

I also like the sharing element.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is the sign big enough?

Serangoon Library, Singapore This example was taken from the train station near the Serangoon Library.

This sign was readable so that it was clear that the library was in the shopping centre.  It made it very easy to find.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

apple sign

Apples I really like this sign. I like it so much that I have blogged about it before. I think it is a great way to let people know about different apple types, and to encourage people to try some different ones.  It does not list all apple options, but a range.

It has simple to read graphics and gives useful to read information about apple without being overwhelming.

It is a very nice example of keeping a sign simple.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

signs to explain services

Clemeti Library Sometimes new services may need an explanation.  This sign in Clementi Public Library in Singapore used images and limited text to explain a services which provides surprise reads.  The service is a nice idea, as is the sign to explain it to people who may not be sure about borrowing a brown bag (with a book in it) from the library.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Are you sharing your library mission?

Library mission - Salt Lake City Public Library, Main Library, Utah This is from Salt Lake City Public Library.  They want people to know the parameters of their library service, and use the library mission statement to make sure people know the expectations upon the library service.

This is an interesting way to tell part of the story of the library.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Does your sign blend in?

QAGOMA APT7 Sometimes the purpose of the sign is to be part of the scenery.  This was a temporary sign at QAGoma. It was part of one of the art works, and was connecting the cafe to the exhibition, but having part of an art work in the cafe, which also operated as a sign.

This was an interesting way of looking at the signs for the exhibition, and of drawing the cafe in to it as well.

think about the language of the sign - should it be in a language other than English

Reading promotion - Palo Verde Library Many of your library signs will be in English (or whatever is the main language spoken where your library is).

It may be really important to have signs in languages other than English so that the information reaches the target client group.

This serves a few purposes.  It lets people know you  have services they may be interested in, in their first language.  It also lets people know that you are interested in providing a service in another language and tells the community this.

This sign was in a library where the first language of much of the community is English, however, there are also many people for whom Spanish is their first language.

Friday, June 21, 2013

more connections

How to connect with the Desert Park at Alice Springs A constant theme in this blog is how can people connect to your organisation, and how can they find out about how to do this.

Social media connections should be listed (in an easy to find way) on the web site.  As they are for the Alice Springs Desert Park.

They also need to be listed on site, as maybe someone has not used your website, or maybe they did not care about connecting until they were onsite.

I was impressed by this sign.  It promotes events coming up, but also lets me know three ways I can connect with the park (as well as where the toilets are).  All important information.  It evens mentions the funding authority (always a good idea).

Do you make it as easy as this for people to find you on social media, when they are in your library?

This is something Vivid did really well - as you can see below.

How to connect with #vividideas They wanted you to connect and they were making it very easy to do.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

another blunt sign

Sometime signs need to be blunt - at Hermannburg The local football team was sponsoring this sign.  What more needs to be said.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

using signs to tell stories

Telling a story of refurbishmentThese panels were in the foyer of a hotel in Brisbane.  They were telling the story of the refurbishment of the rooms, as well as letting you know the colour scheme.

The fabric panels above the beds were stylised maps of the Brisbane River and its path through the city.

I think this information served a few purposes.  It was letting people know, while they were still in the hotel foyer, that the rooms were refurbished.

It was also telling the story of Brisbane.

This hotel had river views from many rooms, and they were helping visitors connect from where they were staying, to the city.  It was impressive looking at the artwork of the river and then looking out at the river and city.

I liked this idea for a few reasons.  The refurbishment was nice, but I really liked being told the story about it as well.  It helped me further connect to the environment.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Be as blunt as you need to be

Crocodile sign Litchfield National ParkVisits to libraries should not be life threatening.

Visits to national parks may be, because of wildlife and because of people not taking the environment into account.

This is a friendly and blunt sign from Litchfield National Park, NT.

It is blunt, and it needs to be.

Have you looked at what your signs are actually saying?

Trading hoursThis sign, on a business in Sydney, provides the hours of opening.  When I saw it I kept looking at it, trying to work out what was being said.  Is there something I am missing?

It is saying the same thing in a confusing way.

Wouldn't it be easier to read if it simply said noon (or 12 noon) til late 7 days?

Have a look at your signs and see if they are saying what you really think they are, or are they initially confusing like this one.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Is the sign clear?

Shared roadway I like this photograph.  It highlights the problems with some signs.

They may be in the wrong place.  They may need work done to highlight them.

This needed some tree trimming to really make the point that it was a shared roadway.  It looks a little begrudging about sharing anything the way it currently looks.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Sleeping in public This sign was at the University of Canberra.

I am not completely sure what it means, but I think it still works.

It could mean 'don't be really noisy because students may be sleeping".  It could be an invitation to sleep, or it could be a sign of humour.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Reading pleasure ?

Poster on the London Underground This is an interesting promotion for a romance novel.

It is eye catching, and making obvious word plays - I laughed out loud when I saw it.

Is this kind of promotion too racy for a library to consider?

Looking at it, could not titles by Neal Stephenson and George R R Martin be advertised as "longer lasting pleasure" because of the amount of time they take to read.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A sign with a motivation

Sign at Deer Valley Rock Art Centre I like this sign. It provides its own motivation for staying on the trail.

It is interesting that there are few snake warning signs in Australia.  Maybe because many snakes are shy, or perhaps because people really don't want lots of freaking out.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My favourite sign

Agave Library I think this may be my favourite sign - ever.  You can see it at a distance when you are approaching the library.  It gives a sense of excitement, and adventure.

The sign is lovely, with agaves growing around it as well.

At certain times of day it also operates as  dappled shade for the outdoor library space behind it.

How does your library sign make people feel?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hazard signs

Wildlife alert -  Desert Broom Library This library obviously has some wildlife around.  This sign is an interesting way to let people know that it is a shared space, and to show a bit of caution.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Do you tell your community how their library is funded?

"Spending in Scottdale support this library"  - Arabian Public Library I like this painting on concrete because it helps the community to understand how their library is funded, or a least part of the story.

How do you inform your community about library funding?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

summer reading - for everyone

Summer reading promotion - Appaloosa LibraryI I really like this sign because it is a summer reading program for everyone, or at least everyone in the community can take part in different parts of it.

Is your summer reading program going to be inclusive next summer?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Enjoy failure - kind of...

I never thought I would write a post with this heading, but that was because I was not thinking about failure the right way.

Several months ago I realised that I tweet about it being okay to talk about failure, but realised I don’t often talk about my failures, and realistically they happen every day.  People around me know this, just as I know their failures.   

JK Rowling puts it really well, (and here is the complete text of the talk) and you can watch the video below

Wil Wheaton has some impressive things to say about failure too, and Scott Higgins is also helpful.

In a recent talk Neil Gaiman said "When the rules are gone you can make up your own rules. You can fail, you can fail more interestingly, you can try things, and you can succeed in ways nobody would have thought of, because you're pushing through a door marked no entrance, you're walking in through it. You can do all of that stuff but you just have to become a dandelion, be wiling for things to fail, throw things out there, try things, and see what sticks. That was the thrust of my speech," 

You could stop reading and watching here. 
"Ever tried / Ever failed / No matter / Fail again / Fail better" Samuel Beckett, inspiraciĆ³n de @teamlabs

I am talking about failure now, as part of my learning about it, but also to make it easier for other people to talk about too.  Sounds a bit like I am talking about an addiction, but rather I think the addiction is not talking about failure, and about not admitting to failure, and about not admitting that we all fail, often. Failure is not always something enjoyable to live through, but on the other hand it can be liberating.  

You can fail and still do amazing things, and you can do amazing things because you fail at what you set out to do, provided you have the right attitude.  I still delivered on a lot in Timor Leste and in some unexpected areas there, however, there were other ways I failed.  Once I realised I was going to fail, and I have to admit there were a few crunch moments about this (it was not pleasant), a different part of my brain clicked in as I sought to problem solve my way through this.  This was really exciting, and it meant I was actually thinking differently, I really could also feel it happening in my brain.  Part of this was thinking more creatively, there was more desperation in my thinking and that helped too.

I am also not saying I fail because I am a perfectionist.  I am not a perfectionist and I think perfectionism is close to evil.  I think one should strive for excellence, but perfectionism is dangerous and destroys many great and amazing things, and can really stop people thinking creatively.  

We don't have to be happy about failure, but choosing to deny failure happens is ignoring the important point J K Rowling made, and to quote her:

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Friday, June 7, 2013

"Polite line - do not get cross"

Polite line - do not crossThis photograph was also taken at Cockatoo Island, during Outpost.

It shows an art work which had a lot of people doing double takes, once they actually read the words.

It seems a good reminder about customer service (amongst other things), and that as staff we need to keep in mind the polite line, and try not to get cross.

We might be having a bad day, the person in front of us (and they may be standing there, be on the phone or online) may be contributing to it or it could be the result of something which happened earlier, even elsewhere.  It actually does not matter.  It may help to keep an image of these words show on the polite tape.  It may be enough to help you collect yourself, and be able to assist a client, or otherwise do what you need to do.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Is your organisation easy to find online?

Social media connectionsThis shows how an event on Cockatoo Island made sure people could connect with them on social media.

There were several signs like this over the island so you knew you could connect via social media.

I really like it when an organisation or event lets me know how I can connect, if I want to.  I particularly like it when I obtain this information in context.  This information should be on the website, however, it also should be visible in the building, or in this case on the island.

I will probably have a few other photographs to share on this theme during blogjune to show where I think this is done well.

When it is done well it is easily findable.  It should also be able to be read at a reasonable distance.  This could be read while standing a short distance away.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cost benefit of a library

Cost benefit of the library - Grand County Public Library, MoabGrand County Public Library in Moab, Utah makes sure that their community knows the value of their library.

It is a very impressive and well used library service.

Inside the library they have have a sign telling the community that for every tax dollar collected in property tax, the library provided over $8.00 worth of value.

This sign is telling the community that their property tax is being well spent and is adding significant value to the community.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Translating library terminology

Fiction/genre sign - Burton Barr Central Library, Phoenix Public LibraryThis sign, from Burton Barr Library in Arizona is helpful for me.  I like that it does not expect me to understand what fiction is, but lets me know some of the kind of reading I might find in this area.

I think there is a sense of excitement from the kind of sign as well.  The lit sign (and I know this is not feasible for every library, not would it work in every library) adds to the sense of wonder, discovery and interest.  

I am guessing it took a while to work out the exact working (what genres get mentioned and in what order), but this sign does what it needs to do, shows where I can find some reading.

Monday, June 3, 2013

"Join the conversation"

Campaign for woolCampaign for wool This was the request in the Campaign for wool in the Strand Arcade in Sydney.

The image on the left shows the different connection options, including hashtag.

The image on the right shows the broader context, and includes in ipad (centre) where more of the images could be seen.  People were being encouraged to share their photographs of the Strand Arcade via social media.  It was a nice looking promotion.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

signs on tables

Free wifiThis is a second photograph from Burwood, showing the tables in the food court.  It seemed that every second table had a wifi promotion.  I do not know how new the wifi is, but it was great to be told about it.
I know it is a dodgy photograph, but I was trying not to be obtrusive in what I was doing.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I will be participating in #blogjune

Free wifiIt seems a good idea, but I know that at times during June I will struggle with the daily posts, and some may be posted one or two days later.

I thought I would focus on signage (previous years have looked at libraries I would like to visit, and sources of inspiration).   There may be posts on other topics, and thirty days of posts on signs seems scary to me (as well as any readers).

This is my starting image.  It is some of the best wifi signage I have seen, and it was in the food court of Westfield at Burwood NSW.  All around the white area, there were hanging signs saying free wifi.  While looking at these it struck me that wifi is not always as obvious in public places.

This kind of sign really puts wifi in the public toilet category - in that they both should be free, with no barriers to use (no sign in required), they should be well maintained (fast wifi, clean toilets), and they should be available in lots of accessible public places - and you should have signs telling you where they are, rather than having to guess.