Getting the Point Across Through Signage

August 20 2018, 8:13pm

One of the main things that you’ll notice in any large city in Taiwan, are the signs. They’re everywhere, hanging off the sides of buildings, on top of stands, in front of temples even; in all sizes and colors–all trying to get your attention.

Especially when you can’t read it all, the signage can become a bit dizzying.

Having spent my fair share of time staring at signs in Taiwan, I’ve noticed a few things.

First, there will always be a sign that one-ups yours. Even if your sign sticks out into the street a little bit, someone will come along and stick out a bit more.

Second, because there are so many signs, messages are short and repeated. There are a bunch of LED signs like this that cycle through the same short message. Surprisingly, I saw these types of signs on temples the most.

Third, food signs generally convey exactly the type of food you will get.

Want chicken? Pretty simple. Look for chicken in the title (雞). Want tea? Look for the character for tea (茶).

Fourth, signs are often big because they’re meant to be read from afar. Imagine walking down a street at a night market with hundreds of people in front of you. You look up and see exactly what will quench your thirst:

Fifth, lack of regulation breeds creativity and extravagance. These characters are animated and the mango shaved ice jumps out at you because it’s actually a physical sculpture on the side of the building.

What are your thoughts on signage abroad?

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