a landscape lover's blog

garden tales from a Brit at home and abroad

More tell-tale signs

A recent post looked at the vagaries of park signage in Paris. Since then, I have been keeping an eye out for good examples. And last week, on a trip to the US, I found some. The City of Philadelphia has, in my opinion, got it right.


So, what makes these signs work? It is nothing extraordinary or magical. They are simply located in places where people congregate. There is an appealing balance of colourful images and scant text. With eye-catching titles, they tell the reader one or two digestible pieces of information, and they relate clearly and explicitly to their location. That’s it.

And what’s the evidence that they work well? Simply that I have never seen signs so frequently consulted and discussed.

Post script: If you’re interested in signage, you might like to visit my gallery of other wonderful and woeful examples.

7 comments on “More tell-tale signs

  1. fsorin
    March 23, 2011


    It took an out of towner to take note of Philly’s well executed and user friendly signs. I love it!!

    As a Philadelphian, I have always taken these signs for granted because I associate their existence with the history of the city.

    Thanks for the thumbs up ….Philly is often an underrated city…and it actually is pretty fabulous. Fran

    • landscapelover
      March 23, 2011

      Fran – thanks for the comment. This was only my second visit to the Philadelphia area and I saw it in splendid 20°C temperatures and with the help of some knowledgeable locals, including fellow blogger Carolyn of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.
      The historical signs struck me because there always seemed to be people gathered round them, actually reading the information and then looking round with a fresh understanding and interest.

  2. You are so right about the signs, and Philadelphia is such an underrated city. Can we expect more posts on your adventures there?

    • landscapelover
      March 27, 2011

      Yes, I’ve a couple more posts lined up on Philadelphia, but one or two on Paris parks to come first.

  3. theclothshed
    March 26, 2011

    I think you could be right Jill….most probably clematis,
    I couldn’t think at the time.

    Hope you enjoyed your visit back to the US, the weather sounds extremely kind with 20 degrees….we have had 14/15 degrees in the wilds of Northumberland these past few days….quite a heatwave….!
    Julie x

  4. Lula (onbotanicalphotography.blogspot.com)
    April 4, 2011

    I am interested in your posts about giving information to visitors. it’s same with labels and panels in museums: they have to be the right dimensions and amount of info to be useful. These examples in your post look just perfect: they do what they have to, amazing they work! Enjoyed Philadelphia? Lula

  5. Pingback: Signs of the times | a landscape lover's blog

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This entry was posted on March 23, 2011 by in Parks, United States and tagged , , .

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