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July 20, 2010 / ashithymia


Directional symbols have the potential to supply information about geographical routes and generally aid those who understand them with a means of reaching their destination.  They can be found on maps, signs, roads and in many other locations – ostensibly seeming to be limited to arrows, however this is not the case.

Symbols such as the double white lines which are placed on roads communicate direction through driver knowledge, as drivers learn that these mean that they must not cross them.  I find it really interesting to note, that most symbol based signs have to be learnt and almost always, it is impossible to decipher what they really mean just by looking at them and having no prior knowledge as to what they mean.


This sign communicates direction through the use of the half circle shape that is placed upon the rectangular base.  It depicts a simplified version of a speed hump and warns motorists that they are approaching a speed hump.  Direction is shown as motorists have to travel over the speed hump, and thus are warned to slow down.  The meaning of this sign is learnt by motorists and is used throughout Australia.  Similar versions are also used internationally.


This sign communicates that there is a bicycle lane located where the sign is placed.  It communicates direction as it shows cyclists where to ride and also notifies motorists of this.  The symbol is a simplified depiction of a bicycle and the blue background helps it to stand out.


This sign is very important as it communicates the exit from the train carriage in the event of an emergency.  It glows in the dark as well, which is very helpful if an electrical malfunction occurs, and it is also brightly coloured which is helpful during the day time.  It depicts a simplified version of a person running whose meaning, like the other signs, needs to be learnt.


This sign communicates to motorists that the road tapers from wide to narrow and warns them of this.  It does this through the use of two angular simplified lines, and they are bold and effective in quickly communicating the message across. While once again, the meaning of this sign must be learnt, in my opinion it is probably easier to understand it without prior knowledge of what it means due to the simple diagram.


The top part of this sign often stands alone and communicates a stop in direction, not to enter.  The red circle is very bold and stands out, contrasting heavily with the white background.  This sign is generally used to stop motorists from entering certain areas, such as in car parks and other out of bounds areas.


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