…is not like the others. Annotation via signs, not pictograms. “Express Mail” is a brand, an option to be purchased. How would we show the difference between regular and express mail using pictograms? Note that despite their different uses, the three boxes have the same form-factor and color. Maybe express mail could be another color: White to signify luxury (better i.e. faster handling), red to signify speed. Annotation by color would have to avoid colors we already associate with postal systems i.e. a brown or yellow or purple-and-red letter box would leap the boundaries of brand and point towards UPS or DHL or FedEx.

(FedEx uses such an annotation-by-color system: FedEx Ground is purple and green, FedEx Express is purple and orange, FedEx Custom Critical is purple and teal. FedEx, the corporate entity, is purple and grey. Interestingly, FedEx has jumped the bounds of branding: It is no longer just a shipping company, it is also a logistics company—FedEx Trade Networks, FedEx Supply Chain Services—and an office services company—FedEx Office [formerly FedEx Kinko’s], FedEx Services.)

Also note: Despite being different portals to different speeds of transport, each box has been marked with same graffiti. A different kind of annotation: The marking of public street furniture to introduce a territory claim or suggest supremacy over the built environment.

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