Pictorial signs

No Weapons Allowed

→√ΔØ! Pictorial Signs (also known as pictographs or ideograms depending on their form) are meant to relay ideas beyond the barrier of language, yet ironically, their simplified messages can sometimes create cultural and linguistic ambiguities.

Some signs can be considered reactionary as in the case of signs that popped up in a Los Angeles movie theater recently. (No guns?) (Were these here before?)(Why are guns representative of all weapons?) (Was this somehow permissible beforehand?)

No Baguettes

While others may be reflective of cultural norms, as in the case of a sign in the backseat of a Parisian taxi cab. (No baguettes?) (Is bread symbolic of all food?) (Why bread?) (Is other food OK?) (Does this mean, “no eating”?)

It is here in these ambiguities that we find the possibilities to dive deeper into the cultures that surround them. Signs may be meant to instruct, warn, or inform us but sometimes they only lead to more questions…

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