When Icon magazine invited Manual to take part in its excellent Rethink feature to redesign an everyday object or system, the San-Francsico studio went pleasingly big. Even non-Americans will be familiar with the country’s iconic road signs, but Manual’s team put emotional attachments to one side and went back to basics in order to improve a system they felt was “confusing, inconsistent and messy.”
Consistency and clarity key in their new designs with the colours being moved to the top of the signs as a coding system, helping drivers read, process and decide on the relevant information as quickly as possible. Shields have largely been jettisoned (for feeling “too police state”) except on certain very famous routes.
An accompanying app helps road users with directions, fuel availability and local attractions in a bold step towards proper state-funded 21st Century modernity.
As hypothetical projects go this is well-thought out, well executed and well worth reading-up on – a great starting point for a discussion we may not have realised we needed.