metasurface

metasurface-archive

Design in a small town part 6: Bad Design/Liability


On a cold and blustery day last fall I was driving to work when I noticed something odd downtown. Every 3 feet or so there was a traffic cone placed in the middle of the sidewalk. On my way home I made sure to stop and see what this was all about.

Well, simply put, the town's walk of fame sidewalk plaques were, when sprinkled with frost and snow that had melted, extremely slippery. I had seen these little squares and had always thought of them as embarrassing bad design but it never crossed my mind that the design was so bad that it could hurt you!

Let's break it down. First, the aesthetics:

- The original design had two fonts (the rounded sans and a serif) that did not work well together (the serif - part of a logotype I believe, is now covered)
- The mark at the top is difficult to decipher (I think it is a representation of an artesian well. Either that or a picture of It from the Addams Family)
- The black granite is reflective often making it difficult to read the sandblasted lettering

Secondly, one should consider these other factors:

- The granite is extremely slippery when wet
- The walk of fame is a block away from a retirement home and the sidewalks are used often by people who have a difficult time walking especially in icy weather
- The solutions, so far, have rendered the original concept moot. The cones sit on top of the plaques and the no-slip safety tape obscure much of the writing

It seems that this is either something done by committee or by an individual who didn't think about these factors. The result is dangerous.
gregory turner-rahman