Perhaps I should avoid the slopes…

After the conference in New Mexico let out, a bunch of us went on an excursion to the top of a mountain that overlooks Albuqurque. At the top, we found this sign on the side of a building:

Given that we’d all just talked about visual signs for a day and a half, many of us photographed it and cracked jokes. While one might expect the images are there to help give aid to those who don’t speak the language or to reinforce the text, but really most of them are extremely ambiguous…

The top left one looks like the skiier is walking on cracks in the earth, and the bottom middle one looks like it’s telling you to hang out in the middle of the road (when the text says exactly the opposite). The top middle one seems like the skiier is dropping his skiis from the lift.

My favorite though, is the upper right. It could easily be construed that, when you’re skiing and approaching someone else, you should go around them on both sides at the same time (except for its physical difficulties). I kept picturing some Looney Tunes cartoon, where someone hikes up their body to elongate their legs so they weave around an object to avoid hitting it.

If one can only read the very large text at top (since the smaller text is a bit tough to read), these “signs of safe skiing” paint an awfully strange picture of what skiing is like.

Anyone got any more good interpretations of these?


  • Signs like this usually go through a pretty painstaking design process. Somebody fell down on the job here.
    I’ve got a copy of an American Institute of Graphic Arts report, on developing symbol signs for the US Dept. of Transportation, that walks through some of the process. Lots of research and attention to detail for something so (seemingly) simple. Pretty interesting stuff (well – from a certain mindset at least).

    But, yeah, these ones really suck.

  • I swear that I have a google account, but I have no idea what it is so…

    Those signs are really intense. I guess what’s misleading about them is that they all depict what SHOULDN’T Be done but don’t have angry red stripes over them. Regardless, they are hilarious. I love the last one… “Observe all signs” …


  • … re: what I said last post.

    I guess the weird thing about this sign too is that it’s not consistent about whether or not it’s going to depict what you should be doing or what you should not be doing…

    And as of five minutes later, the last one is still my favorite. That skiier looks so complacent!

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