_SIGNAGE I FIND TERRIFIC
Since you're already on here judging me, Imma capitalize on your prying eyes and show you what makes my heart smile: great signage. Great signage doesn't always have to be great; it's got to entertain, however, even if that means laughing at it. In fact, I often find signage more endearing when it's unintentionally ignorant or garishly displayed. Because great signage tells a story with its very existence. It makes the world a more interesting place.
Before your keen eyes is an abbreviated collection of signage that I have photographed (nothing pulled from the interwebs). Ever since I minored in Documentary Photojournalism in grad school, capturing stories has been a platonic passion of mine.
Please read the rollover captions as well; they impart meaning and moxie to each of the pictures. Because let's be honest—reality is all in how you interpret it.
NOTE: If you're using a cellular telephone, rotate your device 90° to view these in landscape mode. For some unspeakable reason, Squarespace won't show captions in portrait mode; i.e., on displays < 480 pixels wide. Cruel and maddening.
Actually, it's one or the other; you can't be both.
Shouldn't these all be in the same section?
If someone were to ask me the difference between women and men, I'd say it's obviously how they enter water.
Say your dog is a cliff-shitter. What then? Look at it from that angle, and the two directives seem rather incompatible. Like someone out there wants us to fail—or at least, die trying.
Achieve freaky reatness, indeed.
"And I take grammar serious."
Don’t give me a paper clip and tell me it’s a trombone.
Ferndale Rehabilitation. We turn dildos into people.
Nothing like an alliterative street pun to start your morning.
Ninth time's the charm.
Learn to spell, junkie.
Eunuch and proud.
Welcome to Ranchester. We embrace all of our toe-handed brethren.
Therapy may not always have a happy ending, but teraphy sure does.
I guess Pearl Jam wasn’t enough.
Team Tupperware don't care.
This place has been on the market forever.
We specialize in hemming trousers, darning socks and sex change operations.
Don't shill me your pinko liberal swill, CNN. What's more, that billboard vinyl is the visual antonym of smooth.
Let me get this straight: the combined addresses of two couples who live in different locations is -6? How innovative and completely illogical. I like it.
Yes! Wait, what?
This doesn't make sense on so many levels.
With a name like Luigi F. Cement, your career choice is kind of crammed down your throat, innit?
This will change EVERYTHING.
Nothing eases your tension like the sumptuous aroma of fresh tar.
What are the odds this trash can is full of tennis balls and windowpane?
Nothing rings in the holiday cheer like an anemic Santa with blood-red eyeshadow, lipstick and rosacea who's just waiting to electrocute you.
I knew it!
Oddly enough, 3 out of 5 teens also agree that teenagers who armpit fart are probably covering up a real fart. What kind of spurious, fearmongering statistic is this? The only rational comment on this advert is the one tagged in Sharpie ink.
I'm sorry, but one experience doesn't qualify you for shit, lady.
Lack of space, language barrier or one-time offer?
The official wood of predators.
Some names just weren't meant to be companies. Or verbs, for that matter.
Yet another revolution that won't be televised. Dubious, says I.
The only thing I'm not following is the logic here.
In Chicago fresh breath is apparently currency.
Yes, I am in 5th grade. And yes, this is still funny. Not sure what those red marks are all about. They do spell N-T-D in Morse Code, but I'm still at a loss. Perhaps they were put on by some no good, meddling kids with a 5th grade sense of humor (and a lousy grasp of Morse Code).
Bless you, but wouldn't that be 9lbs, 1oz?
Guess I'm not the only one playing Name That Fart.
What else needs to be said? It's just kinda perfect.
Actually, the place where wood comes alive is the forest. You know, the one you cut down to carve your inanimate museum showpieces.
Have you ever even met a bobcat? Complete assholes.
After years of meticulous plotting, disgruntled vinyl mesh banner maker Harold Glickman finally got his revenge.
Science shows us that without hands, hats are infinitely more difficult to put on and take off. Hence the preemptive move by the folks at the Elks Lodge of Casper, Wyoming to outlaw hands. They are a clever bunch.
aka Center for the Geometrically Deficient.
This is what happens when you let lispers who spell phonetically chisel out street signage.
Thank goodness I only brought my javelin.
Who knew a hang glider warning sign could be a specimen of design efficiency? Just look at that pictogram. If MC Escher designed a warning sign, it would look exactly like this. I mean, a head AND an exclamation point at the same time? Inconceivable!
With a name like Michigan Bat Control, you better have a sweet logo.
(caption on the next photo)
The lovely loo signs at the aforementioned, anachronistic Elks Lodge in Casper, Wyoming (inside the lodge it was 1950). Gotta love chain-smoking elk and demure does. However, one thing that peeved me about these signs was, naming women does and men elks is like calling your respective bathrooms, ladies and humans. That, and the fact that female elk are called cows, not does (and males are called bulls). So that's two strikes.
But what if I don't want my patriotism enriched? And who the fuck is Barb Heller?
Nice headstone, mister.
Perfectly acceptable message for a neighbor to affix on the back of his suburban house. Not creepy at all.
There are rules to breaking the rules. Thinking maybe I should moonlight as a freelance graffiti proofreader.
Of course, I love a good chicken pancreas (who doesn't), but "supreme" just ain't the right way to describe it.
At last! The long-awaited sequel to Good Morning, Vietnam, starring Sloth from Goonies.
Give me "angry messiah." I wonder if they have a separate casting couch for prepubescent boys?
Don't know about you, but I can't support any establishment that discriminates against fake kids.
Nutritional benefits notwithstanding, this is really smart.
G is for Gratuitous.
Mutilating trees in the name of Christ.
What does that mean, exactly? Rather disturbing, especially when that man is so darn tiny.
Frankly, I think this is just an elaborate scheme by Preston's mom to get laid. So rife with euphemism.
If animals have problems with our trappers' methods, then let them speak for themselves, you dumb hippies.
This place works better than straitjackets. In fact, I regained my sanity after just 9 minutes of sitting on a log and staring at pine cones. Besides, straitjackets do NOT fall into the "any old clothes" category.
After all the other iconic stuff on there, "chair lift" just lacks oomph and seems a wee generic, don't you think?
I'm sorry, I really just can't get over the anti-Semitic slur enough to shop here.
We ain't talkin' about no half-ass cheap western commercial from some podunk town like Puddle City or Ditch City. This here is THE precise place where Hill City's high cotton western commercial was filmed.
McGas. Piped in straight from the septic tanks of McDonald’s.
Captured at Haymarket, Boston's open air marketplace. Perhaps if I were a voodoo queen like Marie Laveau, this wouldn't faze me. Alas, I'm neither a queen nor voodoo—so I'm fazed. Quick question: if you order only half of a goat killed, the other half will grow back, right?
The Leaf and Bean in Bozeman, MT. Easily one of the grooviest coffeeshops in the space-time continuum. Gotta dig nonsensical mural menus.
Kinda cool to be driving through the boondocks of Wyoming (that may be redundant), and to see a billboard I created a year after it first ran. As a result of this campaign, a law that banned smoking in bars and restaurants made it onto Wyoming's legislative floor for the first time ever. Put that in your pipe and don’t smoke it.
Um, yeah. That kid's face gets me every time. Doesn't his large, shapeless forehead remind you a bit too much of the profile of a pregnant woman's stomach? Look at the face that way, and it begins to protrude like Quato from Total Recall.
Ahh, Venice (Beach). What's even more bizarre is the grey house behind and to the left of these campers. You see those multiple prowling wolf sculptures on each ledge of the house? There are like 15 of them in all. Pretty freaky.
The back of the truck's cab reads, "NO SNIVELING." I dodged around this here trucker for several miles to get a shot of another sign, this one on his cab window:
Bobbleheaded, pug-based threat on 18-wheeler's cab = pinnacle of manliness.
Reads, "Every fourth baby dies from Choice." No matter where you fall on the issue, this is a horrifying sign, isn't it? Just poor taste all around.
My prize souvenir from getting snowed in near Wheatland, WY for a night. Gotta love misspelled witticisms.
Best. Salon name. Ever. Those two repurposed signs atop the same building are priceless. Talk about consistent branding.
You just know they have a well-rehearsed response when people ask why they named it that. Hopefully something pithy like, “You tell me.”
Like the surgeon general's warning on cigarette packs, this ought to be required verbiage on processed food packaging.
Were it to read, "PATRIOTS," I'd probably fist bump you (went to Michigan when Brady was QB there—so back off, haters). As it is, however, I think you're one creepy, god-fearing scoundrel. And so does Samuel Johnson. I mean, wouldn't just a flag have sufficed?
The immensity of a single letter, indeed.
"Shoe repair while u wait" at a massage parlour. Is that code for: "We also give footjobs"?
Give them some credit—at least they're frank about their lot. Even the neon sign is pretty jank. Of course, you could read it as: sorry, parking area. But then you'd be wrong. Parking lots do not apologize for shit. That's a scientific fact.
Couldn't they just simplify it to "quickie"?
Not long ago, this playground sign would have read, “Children must be accompanied by an adult.” To be sure, I'm not knocking the sign; in fact, I quite agree with it. But the fact that such a sign needs to exist is part of what’s seriously wrong with humanity.
Look, a Jew dentist who can’t make Jewish jokes.
Sometimes you just have to say, "Fuck subtlety."
Curing insomnia since 1956.
Perhaps it's because I'm a single dad, but am I the only one who finds this utterly tasteless and not the least bit witty?
Truer words have never been written.
Call me old-fashioned, but slutty lingerie isn't really something I'd like to associate with "mother." Too Oedipal.
What an insulting name. This plant must have no self-esteem.
Why do Germans feel the need to put "master" in front of regular words?
No wonder people don't use them anymore.
Of all the sounds evoked by dropping a deuce and the cleanup that ensues, a symphony is perhaps furthest from my synapses. So who are they kidding here? (I call this one misnomerrhea.)
Vegan cults are on the rise.
And just like that, it's the '80s again.
Talk about shit branding.
Aren't levy and tax synonyms? Dunno, Seems redundant.
Seems like a sensible first vehicle.
Coming soon to a Blockbuster near you.
Vote for henleys!