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Uses of Signs

9/27/2012 1:17:56 PM | by Anonymous


Otherwise known as signboards or signage, a sign is a type of graphic display that has an intended purpose to convey certain information to an audience. For example a road sign would direct traffic on upcoming road conditions etc. By definition, a sign is a representation of an object, an expression, information and laws; for example road laws, or other conditions. Many shops and cafés tend to use signboards to announce new promotions, etc. to the public. Aside from such uses, signs have several other applications as well, with the primary purpose being communication; a medium to convey information from which the receiver can make cognitive decisions based on the information that had been provided. In general, signs can be classified as informative, directive, identification or safety and regulatory.


Informative signages provide information about services, a location or facilities. For example a signboard located next to a national monument, stating the significance of the monument and other information of the site would be an informative sign. This sign would provide the reader with information about what he or she is looking at, thus it is an informative sign. Directive signs can usually be found along roads or even in shopping centers and other facilities. As their name would suggest, such signs usually provide directions leading to facilities, services or other areas. For example along a road, a directive sign would spot images such as arrows directing traffic to roads and functional spaces. Same applies with shopping centre as signs also play the role in guiding traffic into areas such as cinema halls, toilets etc. Identification signs, as their name would suggest, are used by facilities, shops, organizations, rooms, toilets etc. for the purpose of identification. A signage of a company’s logo outside its office building would allow passers-by to identify the company. Similarly a toilet sign would allow a person to identify if a room is a toilet or not in a shopping mall. Identification signages are also used in offices to identify the cabins of staffs. Lastly, safety and regulatory signs are used to provide warnings or safety instructions. For example a safety signage beside a swimming pool would provide pool user with safety instructions in order to avoid injury. Many products also tend to have such safety labels that serve as safety signs, providing the user with the correct direction on using the product. Some other examples of safety and regulatory signs can be traffic signs, emergency exit signs, rules and regulations, etc.


Modern signs usually rely on words along with pictures to relay a message. There are also the custom-made signs that are commonly used by business to convey the name and location of their business. Specific services or products can also be promoted through such signs. For example if a café is having a promotion on a new drink, they would put a non-permanent sign outside their entrance to allow passers-by to learn about their current promotion. Such signs are usually hand-written. However, custom-made signage can be intentional permanent signs that can be put up on the outside of a store to allow people to identify the business from a distance. For example Starbucks, have a sign that is identifiable worldwide.


Aside from commercial custom made signs, governments tend to use signboards often, mostly on roads and highways. Different countries tend to have different set of signages that are understood by the drivers within that country. The shapes that these signs adopt can also have significance over the information being relayed. For example, some countries may use triangular signages along roads to serve as a warning sign. They tend to convey danger and provide information to the driver to be cautious about road conditions ahead.


Signs have several uses worldwide and have become a vital part of daily life. Without signs, life would not be as organized with traffic and people will be in a mess.

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