The UK is full of signs, overflowing in fact. The slightest, most tenuous excuse to chastise people, warn them off, or self-importantly point out the pointless never fails to be disheartening. Has this anything to do with design though? Well yes.
These road signs for example, it’s not quite enough to tell people that they should drive at 20mph or that there’s children about, it’s felt that there should be extra space for a child’s drawing or as in the lower sign, impenetrable sarkiness. What do these additions achieve? Why are they there at all in fact?
The design of a road sign should be to communicate the message in the simplest, clearest and most straight-forward way. Which is why signs don’t say ’20 Miles Per Hour’, or ‘Maximum Speed 20’ and it is why the 20 doesn’t have a drop-shadow, or is typeset in Comic Sans. Anything superfluous is just not doing the job of a road sign and means that it is not functioning as the important, direct piece of communication that they should be.
So road sign people, just stop with the frivolous and the unnecessary. For a reason.