Design sightings in Portugal: 4) Non-awesome hospital signage

April 19, 2009

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Yesterday I showed some awesome signage from Lisbon’s Museu Colecção Berardo’s which was engaging, witty and fit perfectly with the character of a modern art museum.

This is the opposite.

Imagine that something horrible has just happened to you, and you depsperately need urgent medical attention. How would you feel if you rushed to the hospital and were directed to the emergency room by a series of signs which looked like this:

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The signs are incongruent with the clean, clinical, highly professional feeling that a hospital needs to project to make patients feel safe and respect the authority of the staff. They don’t inspire confidence.

In fact, the hospital is fine and modern. The irony is that directly below these delapidated signs is a smaller, bright red piece of top quality signage in what seems to be the world’s most ubiquitous font: Helvetica.

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The last two posts (about the Cervejaria Trindade and Museu Colecção Berardo) were about how the most utilitarian objects need not pass unnoticed. They can be made to have a charm of their own which helps communicate the personality of their surroundings.

This shows how much damage they can do when poorly thought through.

 

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