Fang Talks

[devving intensifies]

You could probably classify or even identify countries using this.

Ever notice how things like street signs, billboards, information displays and so on look distinctly different in other countries? Not even because of the verbal language used on those, but because of their visual one. If you asked me to describe the style I’m used to seeing back in the Netherlands, I wouldn’t be able to tell you any specific. Lots of broad strokes, I guess?

If I had to compare the American visual language to it though, the first thing that comes to mind is “so many words”. A lot of the street and traffic signs here seem super wordy compared to what I’m used to. Their color use also seems a tad less bright and bold for some reason, but that may be just me.

I guess this isn’t exclusive to political borders, but also to cultural ones. Different subcultures have their own aesthetics, and so their own style of visual communication. Like how the same imagery can invoke different feelings in different people.

Doing an image search for something vague like “traffic sign” turns up a lot of different-feeling results.
~ Fang


  • 02/06/2017 (2:24 PM)

    A lot of thought goes into traffic signs. The “Stop” sign, at least in the UK, is the only sign with that design. That’s so that should the words become obscured for whatever reason, you know it’s a stop sign based on the design. America seems like a country where a lot of information is hitting you all at once. So I’m not that surprised their signs go into some detail.

  • 02/06/2017 (2:48 AM)

    It’s not just a country-by-country thing. I once dated a woman from Rhode Island and when she came down to Houston, she was blown away by the way the billboards looked… and the way the electric lines were above ground, too, which is apparently not a thing in Rhode Island.

    Both the signs and the lines are basically invisible to me, though.

    • 02/06/2017 (2:59 AM)

      Heh, we don’t have our small-scare electrical wiring above ground in the Netherlands either, only the generator-to-distributor ones basically. I also don’t think we have very many billboards. Seen a couple here in SF and they seem so scream-y.

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