Ambiguous Visual Controls: Labeling Confusion

A label is a visual control that should clarify, not confuse. Here is an ambiguous visual control, its intentions good but lost in translation.

Does metal stand in an airport even need a label? Perhaps. There is not much else that one could do with this object other than to attach a notice to it either or both clips. Or one could use it for temporary coat storage I suppose. But the chances for this sort of confusion, requiring a clarifying label, are slim.

A billboard is typically a large outdoor advertisement. The Chinese reads “public announcement board”. In any case, all of them I passed by in PVG terminal 2 were devoid of announcements. Perhaps these billboards are part of an understated advertisement for stainless steel surfaces. It could be a overly clever viral marketing campaign for a brand yet to hit our consciousness.

The three vertical poles holding up the display surface strike me as artistic but a bit over-engineered for its purpose. But I digress.

I am tempted to attach a public notice reading “This is in fact not a billboard” but I have a flight to catch…

Stop press: update
…only minutes later, at my gate.

Delightful. Now I am really confused.

1 Comment

  1. Daniel Markovitz

    January 20, 2013 - 12:06 pm

    Kind of like Magritte’s “This is Not a Pipe.”

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