April 03, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At maslansky + partners, we’re language people.  Word nerds.  But even we have to concede that at times, the best language strategy may not use much language at all.

 

Los Angeles has just shown that to be true with the test launch of new, simplified street signs.  Instead of stringing together a list of complicated restrictions and exceptions, the new signs boil the parking regulations down to one easy-to-read graphic.  

 

It’s a brilliant move because it keeps the focus on what their target audience really wants to know: what does this mean for me?   By making it easy for drivers to find the current day and time in the graphic, LA has made their message more relevant, clear, and concise.  

 

So next time you’re finding it tricky to convey a complex message in words, ask yourself this question: should I really be using words at all? 

 

Some keys to look out for:

  • Am I trying to explain something that has a lot of caveats or exceptions?
  • Does my message change depending on circumstances like who’s reading it, or when they’re reading it?
  • Does my audience need to read everything, or just the part that’s relevant to their situation?

 

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Image/story source: http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/04/los_angeles_parking_signs_downtown.php

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