I posted about contemporary signage anachronisms a while back, and recently stumbled on an article in Voice, the AIGA journal of design, while doing research for a paper I’m writing on DOT pictograms. The article, entitled Thank You For Not Smoking, deals with the signs created or introduced in order to correct deficiencies present in the original design of a product or space. The article presents several common signs (Watch Your Step, Pull to Open, No Menus), and begs but never quite reaches the question as to why the design of these spaces did not anticipate human use.
In any case, I’ve ordered Ralph Caplan’s book, By Design: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV, and Other Object Lessons. We’ll see if I can squeeze it around the reading I’m doing for classes.