Saturday, October 22, 2011

Signage. Funny word right? It describes any sort of graphic design, symbol, emblem, or even words that give direction, or warning. Billboards, marquees, movie posters, and even the little blue and white placards indicating the men's or women's restroom are examples of signage. Walt Disney World uses signs to direct people where to go, what time things start, and where there are great places to take a quick snapshot with your camera. Today we'll start off with...

Entrance Signs: The most exciting part for me is arriving in WDW. There's no better way to feel more welcome than with a large sign making you feel like you're home. The entrance sign for Walt Disney World actually spans an entire 3 lanes worth of traffic. It's like driving into a portal leaving your daily life behind. It lets you know that you've least for the next week or so (depending on how long your trip is going to be).

Road Signs: You'll find a lot of them along WDW's main road (World Drive). Outside of the park and all over the U.S. You see the standard green, brown, or blue style of road signs indicating exits, parks, or places to lodge or eat. Inside the road signs inside are a bit different. Michael Eisner (still CEO at the time) hired the design firm of Sussman/Prezja to create 1,000 freeway, road directional, and regulatory signs. They broke away from the traditional look and uses colors like red, blue, yellow, violet, and even green (more of a turquoise actually). While the signs aren't as elaborate as the ones used in (for example) the Magic Kingdom they are a clear and easy way to find your destination.

Attraction Signs: Probably the least ambiguous signage in the entire place. Quick and to the point, the signs used here are for one purpose: To tell you what you're about to ride. Like other signs you'll find they're themed to the area that they're in. The Pirates of the Caribbean sign is a mast sporting a black sail while Space Mountain's is a clean cut, sharp edged, vision of the future. No sign feels out of place so you know that you are right where you need to be. Attraction posters are a part of this too, but I want to save that for another post.

Wait Signs: Wait signs are exactly what they sound like. It's a sign that indicates how long you have until you can find yourself at the front of the line. There's an adjustable time display that clearly lets you know if it's worth the wait. It makes it easier to plan your day, or to see if you need to utilize Disney's Fast Pass system.

Directional Signs: The signs that point you where you need to go. Where's that restroom? Why it's right over there! Need something to eat? Head on over to Pecos Bill's. Just take a right! With a combination of maps, and signs, you'll always be able to figure out where you need to go. Even when asking a cast member where to go their hand turns into a sign: CLICK ME! (a pointer, and middle finger combination as it's the only non-offensive gesture you can use to point at something).

Construction Signs: Well not exactly construction signs. More like signs that are in front of a construction barrier. The parks are all about keeping up illusions Even these signs are themed for whatever area they're being utilized. We're never meant to see the process of an attraction or store being built so this helps keeps everything a mystery.

After reading all of this I bet you're going to look at the signs all around you. Are you going to check to see if they fit the area they're being used? Are they easy to read? Are they fun to look at? Signs don't have to be boring, or out of place. They can help an area become more interesting or help you figure out where you need to go, or even places you can't go. They're something people use ever day, but take for granted. If a lot of effort is put forth you will never have to second guess yourself when using them.

I'm including a Photobucket link below to show more examples of WDW Signage.


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