This sign is fresh: The medium of hand-chalked blackboard is intimately bound up in its message of daily specials. We know (or assume) the information on the sign is fresh because we read the sign as being easily modifiable, and therefore the information it presents necessarily transitory. (Check out those crazy French ‘1’s!)


And that’s the problem with this sign. It looks static, and we therefore read it and the information it presents as static. This, in turn, led me to do a double-take when presented with the following message: 


If the medium is static, the message is static. The content of the message becomes obscured under a visual conflict between medium, message, and meaning. This visual contradiction is all the stranger because it’s clear that this sign was developed to always look professional and polished, no matter the message it presents—that’s the point of the slide-in-slide-out placards. Once you realize how the sign works, though, everything clicks into place and the Disney standard of service shines through. The investments that go into making a spatial product; the effort we pour into short-lived worlds.