February 13, 2016

Passive Aggressive? Or Just Poorly Designed?

Signage comes up all the time in discussions of library dos and don’ts, and often plays a prominent role in consideration of good design and usability in libraries.

Bad signage can contribute to bad design, even if only via what LJ User Experience columnist Aaron Schmidt calls "design by neglect" or "unintentional design."

As a prime example, a number of poorly considered sign and design choices are making the rounds today, highlighted in a BuzzFeed post documenting "Passive-Aggressive Library Signs" (though there’s some debate on Metafilter as to whether these are actually passive-aggressive, or just plain terrible).

But my favorite?

PLEASE KEEP THE DOOR
CLOSED DURING EVENING MEETINGS
SO BATS DO NOT COME
INTO THE BUILDING
THANK YOU!

As MetaFilter user mediareport points out, "PLEASE KEEP THE DOOR CLOSED SO BATS DO NOT COME INTO THE BUILDING is a perfectly clear, non-passive-aggressive sign. Also, hilarious."

I couldn’t agree more.

Want some food for thought on good design, and sign pointing you in the right direction? Then check out The Usable Library, where you’ll also find a proper-sized version of the poster below.

Josh Hadro About Josh Hadro

Josh Hadro (@hadro on Twitter) is the former Executive Editor of Library Journal.

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