Most of my experience is as a pedestrian. I do not drive a car or ride a bike, I walk everywhere. And as a pedestrian I think the pavement needs signs just like the road – there is so much happening on the pavement that needs controlling.
I regularly face three serious hazards as a pedestrian.
The first is the most serious: it is where the pavement is – from my point of view – crossed by a road. (The driver sees things very differently, from his point of view the road is continuous, and I am intruding on *his* road.) Strangely the greatest danger is where the government has placed traffic lights to help with this sharing of pavement-road. Green man = it belongs momentarily to pedestrians. Red man = it belongs temporarily to cars. Here is the problem: cars these days whisk through AFTER the light has turned red for them, and knowing they are in the wrong, drive as fast as they can. Numerous times, I have had to skip out of the way as a car hurtles past, even though the man is green for me.
I think a sign is needed, right under the traffic lights… RED MEANS RED.
The second hazard is people on bicycles. Perhaps they are hardened from the brutalisation of the roads? Perhaps only nasty physically violent people take to bicycles? I am not sure, but I am sure that I have to hop, duck, swerve like Michael Jackson to avoid speeding bikes, often with their riders screaming at me to get out of their way. Is this permitted? No laws whatsoever seem to apply to bikes. They ignore red lights, drive in bus lanes, race on pavements. It’s the modern version of ‘droit de seigneur’.
The third hazard has only appeared in the last few years. Other pedestrians in a smart phone coma. Meandering along the pavement with their head down. Or amazingly, marching along the pavement really quite fast, head pointed downwards, whilst thumbing or reading. They crash into your back, smash into your front, careen off your shoulder.
It is this last hazard that we have addressed with our sign… READ IT LATER.
Quentin first came to prominence at design studio Pentagram where alongside renowned graphic designer Alan Fletcher he drew the logos for the V&A and the signs for Norman Foster’s Stansted Airport. In 1991 he co-founded his agency Atelier Works, working with clients including British Rail, Phaidon Books, RIBA and Design Council – including developing the current Design Council logo.
He writes regularly for design publications, he authored ‘What Is Graphic Design?’