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  • Client from Hell

    We're working on what's supposed to be an attractive, friendly and consistent signage system for a municipal park. The park has a problem with unsupervised dogs, so they wanted one of the signs to address that problem. The sign we came up with read, "Please pick up after your dog and keep it on a leash." Immediately beneath the sign we proposed attaching a doggy waste bag dispenser.

    The assistant park manager responded with the following:

    "We don't have the budget to constantly replace poop bags. People need to control their dogs and not depend on us to make up for their irresponsibility. We need an official warning sign that really gets attention. Please make the following with these words."
    WARNING!!!
    ALL dogs must be on leashes at all times. IT'S THE LAW!!!! (Code: 86:87.89#9).
    YOU WILL BE CITED IF YOUR DOG OR OTHER ANIMAL IS IN THE PARK AND NOT ON A LEASH!!!

    WARNING!!!
    You are responsible for picking up and properly disposing of your dog or other pet's excrement. Animal excrement is not only a unsightly, it is an environmental pollutant with wide-ranging possible health consequences to people and other animals.
    FAILURE TO PICK UP AND PROPERLY DISPOSE OF THE EXCREMENT OF ANY ANIMAL UNDER YOUR SUPERVISION WILL RESULT IN A CITATION!!!


    "I would also like a cartoon drawing of a man or a woman (I will leave this up to you) depositing a bag of dog excrement into a proper waste receptacle. The authorized receptacle must have a green recycle logo. The man must have a dog on a short leash being held by the man's other hand. Please make the capitalized words bright red and larger than the other letters.

  • #2
    Unfortunately, this style of communication is taking hold in far too many settings. Its message and the delivery of that message are blaring, in-your-face, confrontational, and adversarial. It's an indication that the generation in charge is lacking in maturity. Everything and everyone that requires an application and notification of rules or laws gets the same treatment:

    YOU SUCK!!!! STOP SUCKING OR YOU'LL BE SORRY!!!!!

    Finesse, dignity, and benefit of the doubt are no more. I recommend you cease to engage in all manner of sucking and buy stock in the exclamation point.
    I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

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    • #3
      Ew.
      Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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      • #4
        Can you keep poop on a leash? Would think it would slip its collar, so to speak.

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        • B
          B commented
          Editing a comment
          Well, that's a good point.

      • #5
        That's certainly abrasive, why not propose an amendment to the original plan, where you ask the dog owning community to self-fulfill. Kind of like "got-a-bag, need-a-bag". It works well in the off-leash dog parks in my area. Ultimately though an angry sign isn't going to produce any results, people that leave poop will leave it as long as nobody is watching, they may even fake picking it up (I've witnessed it). Taking away any excuse (providing bags) will have a better effect, having lots of receptacles will also help, nobody wants to carry poo for a longtime.

        Or you could just suggest they police the shit out of it for a time (pun intended).
        Design is not decoration.

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        • #6
          There were several things that made this person's response both frustrating and a little bit amusing.

          Yelling at and threatening the very visitors that the park wants to attract is hardly the right way to welcome someone to what's intended to be a relaxing and recreational setting. That sort of seems obvious, but apparently not to her. Most anywhere outside a jail or an army boot camp, friendly persuasion, I think, is likely a more productive approach than coercion and confrontation.

          Anyway, a big, overly wordy warning sign with mismatched typography and excessive exclamation points runs contrary to what we were hired to accomplish: solving the problem of creating signage that helped brand the park with an upbeat and inviting look.

          Luckily, the person on the next rung up the ladder from her, I think, see things from a different perspective. This will require some diplomacy.

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          • #7
            Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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            • #8
              I guess it's been found necessary to post "in your face" signs to get some peoples' attention. Kind of like the people who park in a business parking lot to go to another business, then when the tow truck comes, they claim they didn't know it was wrong, even though they parked right in front of the sign that says they will be towed.
              No cell phone, no Facebook, no iAnything. Am I missing something?

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              • #9
                It's true no one reads signs anymore. But they won't read a yelling sign either, it will just piss them off. If I had the time and ideas, I would do what they want, then do what I want and present both. They might go with your design, it has worked for me many times.

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