I am visiting England for my daughter's graduation from Oxford Brookes Architectural Studies. One morning we gathered in a tiny coffee shop on Cowley Road and on the wall was this little sign. The author, Saul Leiter was an American photographer. I think, that had he been wandering with me in England, he would have been taking photos of signs. The British have a most unique manner of signage, which to me, indicates a different philosophy than that of Americans.
Take the sign "Way Out". When I see it, I feel like I having been wandering a deep woods and through my own skill and capacity have finally found a path out. I feel capable and excited. The American version of this sign - Exit - feels more like a command and it doesn't make me feel the least bit competent. Likewise, the British sign "Help Point" graciously acknowledges that I may be at a loss - a very human condition, whereas - Information - implies that there is data available.
"NO! At any time." What does the sign below mean? The British again seem to leave the interpretation up to me. I feel in control. I love it.
I shall be careful with my bills.
The British are watching to see what I think of their philosophy of gracious signage.