“Where we’re going, we don’t need… [any road signs]”

Design / Musings

The future may well contain fewer signs and billboards. We can hope. It is odd how we worry about being bombarded with ads online but ads already bombard us everywhere in our environment, along with increasingly unnecessary signage to direct us to destinations our mobile devices can take us to with less confusion.

Take a look at ~100 year old photos of areas you know and think about why they look so much nicer than modern reality. Fashion nostalgia is part of it, old pinhole cameras’ depth of field also makes a contribution. The biggest reason for me is lack of signage and “infrastructure” clutter. What signs and ads did exist back then also tended to be more folksy, charming. There’s something about modern signage and adverts that is, on the whole, trashy and soulless.

Hopefully we’ll get to a point with mobile devices where we can remove many of these post-war era adornments and have a more pleasant environment for all.

The Author

Marc Palmer (Twitter, Mastodon) is a consultant and software engineer specialising in Apple platforms. He currently works on the iOS team of Concepts sketching app, as well as his own apps like video subtitle app Captionista. He created the Flint open source framework. He can also do a pretty good job of designing app products. Don't ask him to draw anything, because that's really embarrassing. You can find out more here.