is your message obvious?

December 13, 2011

in communication

from the stop sign wasn’t always red:

“We have the Mississippi Valley Association of State Highway Departments to thank for the stop sign’s iconic shape. In 1923, the association developed an influential set of recommendations about street-sign shapes whose impact is still felt today. The recommendations were based on a simple, albeit not exactly intuitive, idea: the more sides a sign has, the higher the danger level it invokes. By the engineers’ reckoning, the circle, which has an infinite number of sides, screamed danger and was recommended for railroad crossings. The octagon, with its eight sides, was used to denote the second-highest level. The diamond shape was for warning signs.”

“the circle, which has an infinite number of sides, screamed danger…”

circles always scream danger to me. you?

message and intent feel appropriate, even inspired, when you’re in the huddle working on the problem. take two steps outside the group, however, and suddenly both may be missing.


Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Ferdinandi December 20, 2011 at 10:34 am

circles always scream danger to me. you?

Sarcasm, right? Circles seem exceptionally safe and gentle to me.


fran December 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm

yeah, sarcasm. circles mean sunshine, smiley faces, wedding rings and other optimistic–or safe and gentle–things to me too. only engineers would perceive danger in them.



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