The design studio and specialist retailer have partnered with designers around the world to propose an alternative version of the elderly people sign.
The UK's road signs are a staple feature of our country's visual language; giving us directions on how fast to drive, where to cross, and conveying a myriad of other road rules, all represented by a clear and recognisable system of symbols.
However the design community is raising graphic dissent around some of the more out-of-touch signs; specifically that which warns drivers elderly people are crossing. With its stooped figures and obligatory walking stick, it's a symbol that undermines Britain's community of older people, and NB Studio – a YCN Member Agency – are determined to change this stereotype.
Partnering with specialist retailer Spring Chicken – having recently unveiled an energetic new identity for them – and Michael Wolff, the studio has launched a competition to encourage the creative community to rethink the warning sign, using it as an opportunity to convey a more positive impression of the country's older community.
“We feel this sign gives a derogatory and out-of-touch impression of older people that implies both frailty and disability,” the studio comments. “This has been picked up in recent months by the UK press and we feel it's high time that the design community responded.”
Spring Chicken, who provide an online retail outlet specifically for older consumers, agree that it's high time this “sad and decrepit” sign received a makeover, commenting, “We don't think that the current sign... does justice to the fantastic creativity, energy, curiosity and sheer vim of the older people that we meet.”
With more than 70 contributions from designers around the world so far, NB Studio plan to use the project as an opportunity to appeal to the UK's Department for Transport, to raise awareness and also campaign for a refresh of this very dated symbol. An exhibition and a publication is also in the pipeline, and Spring Chicken is encouraging votes for their favourite submissions over on its site.
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