Unobeyed Signs

Unobeyed Signs
Object date 2020
Place of Origin Global (picture from the main railway station of Helsinki, Finland)
Designer Unknown
Manufacturer Unknown
Materials Tapes, fences, gates, signs

by student Hannakaisa Pekkala

Can a sign keep people away? During the pandemic we have seen a flood of new signs popping up everywhere; stickers on the ground, closed gates and taped benches that tell us to keep away. Often the tape barriers are seen ripped apart, people sitting on the table with a sign “don’t use”. Our individually centered lifestyle makes us act like the rules don’t apply to us – we see ourselves as the exception in the group.

“The best signs are the ones that actually make people want to respect the rules”, states Aradhna Krishna, a professor of marketing at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business (Traverso, 2020). The BBC article summarizes what seems to be working: when people use their creativity and their own voices to communicate the restrictions. Graffiti, self-made signs and big installations in public spaces have received positive responses from people all over the world.

Traverso, V. (2020). How social-distancing symbols are changing our cities. BBC Worklife.


Photo taken by the student.

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