I’ve been taking a closer look at "No Smoking" signs in town from a designer’s perspective. Yes, there is a need to be loud and clear – at least till the message sinks in, and people don’t look for an ashtray the moment they walk into a restaurant.
And if they are going to be big and bold, can’t they be a little more interesting? Some of the signs I’ve seen are so bold, that they come close to rapping you on the knuckles.
So, if you run a business that requires you to display a "No Smoking" sign, here are a few tips.
– Don’t over-size the sign. If you want to draw attention, place smaller signs at different locations.
– Use an image / cartoon for visual relief. Use colour without making it a Diwali poster.
– Get the sign done by a graphic designer – you could even organize a small contest and ask design students in town to participate.
– Try and blend the sign with the kind of business you’re in – I think Pizza Hut has a sign that says "ONLY PIZZAS CAN SMOKE". This could be tough, but worth a try.
A designer friend I was chatting with came up with an interesting idea that goes beyond saying "No Smoking". He says he’d even include links of websites that help people who want to quit – or maybe, local helpline numbers that could be useful. Another idea he mentioned was a sign that took a design cue from a visual test chart used by opticians.
(The types become smaller and smaller till you get to the pay-off.)
Here are some links that you might find useful and inspiring…