Exit Signs

There’s a great article in Slate about the two standard exit signs of the world. In one corner is the big red “EXIT”, and in the other is the green running man.
As a general rule, I love pictograms, so I’m inclined to take the running man’s side. But there’s something very convincing about this argument:

Despite the running man’s widespread appeal, the NFPA has no plans to substitute it for the “EXIT” any time soon. “We update and revise [our] code every three years,” the NFPA’s Solomon told me. “At some point during that update, this issue always comes up.” But the NFPA sees no real reason to make a switch. Solomon points out that when the NFPA investigates fires, it never encounters circumstances “where someone says I didn’t know where the exit was because I didn’t know … what the exit sign was. When they don’t know where the exit is, it’s because there was no signage there whatsoever.”

When you get down to it, the purpose of the exit sign is to use a marker that someone will recognize and not necessarily one that explains itself. (Not that it hurts to explain yourself, signs!)

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