Signs (Ad Edition)

As someone interested in design and usability, signs fascinate me. In the US, I often ignore them because I’m so used to seeing them. But when I travel. I find myself inexplicably drawn to all types of signage, from ads to street signs to store names. And so, with a brand new camera in tow, I take pictures, which I then share with you. These are all pictures from my summer trip to Europe.

So here are pictures of ads and storefronts. It is a long post, but hopefully it will be interesting.

Giant reindeer head museum. I can only imagine that inside the museum there are loads of reindeer heads.

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Strawberry, raspberry, and mango popsicles. I WANT.

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I have no clue what this is an ad for. Mika appears to not be a Finnish word, but it is a European pop singer. I don’t know what this means or why there is a question mark after it.

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A moving ad in the tram in Helsinki. DOCTAGON. Yeah!

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Red bull has mini trucks even in Finland.

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Dude in a jacket, bow tie and crow bar. Woman in a dress and paint roller. Weird.

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This struck me as sounding like Cook Pot. Which would be a funny name for a kitchen store.

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I want to buy things from the brand Your Face.

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TexMex is popular food in Finland. I guess so are girls with shot glasses and blonde hair.

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Here’s a TexMex restaurant called Gringos Locos. The crazy white people restaurant.

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Here is a art gallery with a show called Lorem ipsum. I thought it was a typo at first, then I saw the art. It’s a show about fonts and things like that.

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Harry Potter in Finland. Kaikki Päättyy.

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Dog parking at the local grocery store.

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Why take the time to mix Jack and Coke when you can buy it combined together in a can?

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Outlet mall in Estonia.

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I am so sad I didn’t try that soup.

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Everything’s store. Oh Estonia!

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I really want to go see Jäääär in concert.

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Shopping mall in Estonia. They have Marks and Sparks and everything!

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Captain America and Cars 2 in Estonia.

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This sign just cracked me up. I’m not sure why. Chicken Restaurant in Tallinn.

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These next two pictures are two side by side coffee shops in Helsinki. Robert’s Coffee.

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And Wayne’s Coffee.

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I’d never actually seen an actual Gone Fishing sign before this one in Helsinki.

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I think this is a maternity store in Malmö. I don’t know why there is a Japanese maternity clothes store in Sweden.

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I I really wanted to go to Burger King in Sweden in order to eat a BKool Sundae 🙂

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No clue what this ad is for. Slurp. In Copenhagen.

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Nun advertising Sister Act and praying in Germany.

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I know you’ve been wanting to see the Starlight Express, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s roller skate musical, right?

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I don’t love you. I love ice cream.

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I like that the gambling halls are associated with cherries.

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Just as rubber ducks are associated with glasses.

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Mini truck with big kegs of beer.

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A coffee shop that sells bras and underwear.

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Capri-Sun Cola Mix. Very odd. Uncarbonated, lemon flavored, uncaffenated, coke drink.

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I think this was an ad for the psychiatric museum art museum. Not that you can tell from the banner.

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Christ Jewelers. Seems like an odd choice of names…

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Home of Shirts. Whatever do you think they sell in this store?

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This is a chocolate shop in Heidelburg that has a bench out front reserved for Forrest Gump.

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The Backfactory. I don’t remember what they sell, but it’s some sort of food.

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Snowballs of ALL flavors.

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In Germany, Bridesmaids was known as Braut Alarm!

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Big Fries! The restaurant!

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Marc O’Polo clothing store. Not, amusingly enough, Marco Polo.

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There is a men’s clothing shop called Macho. Their logo is a shirtless man-chest.

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Bison. A bizarre name for a clothing store.

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I kindof want to work at a place called CyklopStudio.

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nü by staff-woman in Copenhagen. I think this was a clothing store. For women. Or woman as the case may be.

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Change. I don’t know if they just want you to change your bra or what.

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Back to Helsinki. There is a whole Sauna shop in downtown.

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Bright and Shiny Hippies in Helsinki means BEN AND JERRY’S. No, I didn’t eat there.

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TINTIN. If you don’t know who Tintin is than I’m ashamed of you.

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That is all for today. Do you want to come and see Jäääär with me sometime?

Usability Issue 5 (No Question)

My first day in Helsinki it took me over 45 minutes to get to my hostel. Not because it was far away, but because of extrodinarily bad signage. So this is less of a question and more of a usability what-not-to-do show and tell. (I had WAY too much stuff with me, poorly packed, and had been awake for about 36 hours. And it was hot. So hot that after eventually finding my hostel, I changed into a short skirt and tank top to go out to dinner. And I was finally comfortable.)

So this is the story of what not to do when creating signage for your youth hostel. Keep in mind that I did have a Google Map and it did not help one ounce. Or gram.

 

This is the sidewalk I was walking on. I had taken the bus they told me to get on and gotten off at the stop they told me to. The bus driver had given me vague directions and I had my map. So I was walking. The left side of the sidewalk (red) is the bike path. The gray part is for pedestrians.

 

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When I got to this point., I thought to myself, weird. There is a road going off into the soccer fields. I never once thought to myself, I bet that’s where the hostel is. Note, no signs. I should have turned right instead of going straight.

 

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If I had turned right I would have gone down the road or ended up in this quasi-parking lot at the top of a staircase. I should have gone down those stairs. (Still no signs.)

 

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Then after walking along the soccer fields, I would have come to a giant flight of stairs. I should have gone up that.

 

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At the top of the giant flight of stairs, I would have found my first sign that a hostel actually existed, a small sign that said Hostel Stadion <- 100 yds. At this point I was standing on a paved walk/bikeway next to a parking lot. But I would then have turned left and powered on (as the tiny sign said).

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Journeying on, there may have been one more small sign, as one would walk along this empty path. There would also, undoubtedly be bikers to dodge, with a huge pack on.

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Then, you make an unexpected right, down a man-made path in the grass, to another trail, across some rocks, and through a small break in the fence. It is very official. BUT there is an official Hosteling International Sign here, so it must be legit! Relief!

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As you turn right from the hole in the fence, you will see this. You may or may not be able to see the HOSTEL STADION sign. You are in the right place.

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If you come another way, good luck to you, fine sirs and madams. Hopefully you brought lots of rations and your bag is light. And hope they don’t give your bed away…

It wasn’t always perfect

On our second day in Aialik Bay, the day I wanted to do two biggish kayaking excursions, we woke up to this gray. Gray is fine. I can handle gray. But I was sluggish getting up and then we had to eat and wash dishes, and by then it was raining. Ben went on a long walk down the beach and I curled up in the cabin and started reading The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, an oddly appropriate book. (Appropriate because it takes place in Sitka, AK where the weather is almost always like it is in this photo…gray and rainy.)

So I spent most of the day sleeping or reading and then we went on a long walk down the beach, where this picture was taken. It’s amazing how some places are still so gorgeous even when the weather is less than ideal.

This is a shorter post, but it’s also about nine hours overdue. For that reason, I’ll toss in another gray picture for free. Aialik Bay has lots of dead trees, leftover from the tsunami/earthquake in 1964 that heavily damaged Seward and changed the landscape of much of south central Alaska. (This is not a super optimistic post.) For more information go to the Wikipedia page.

Because my train of thought is leading to more images, I’ll throw in one tsunami related image. This is a new awareness campaign, I believe, in coastal towns near fault lines. (I’ve seen it in Seward and Monterey, CA) For some dark reason, I find it highly amusing. I think it has to do with the visual, not the message.