Monday, March 29, 2010

On Drunken Driving

When you're trying to explain an idea to a broad, diverse audience, be them young or old, literate or not, foreign or local, nothing does it better than a clearly illustrated picture. If there's one thing i've learned from working in a culture with a different language, it's the power of visuals. If i need to be sure a vendor understands a complicated issue, i don't let words describe it. I use pictures, diagrams, arrows, highlights, smiley faces, green checkmarks and red X's. It's a powerful tool, and it's one Larry stresses here at US/Grant.

China uses this idea in its street signs everywhere. Here's an example, the ubiquitous "No Drinking and Driving" warning. Below are two signs with the same message... notice the Chinese is actually identical. One is near the Great Wall at Jiankou and there other is on a major highway between Beijing and Tianjin.

A few things i love about this:
  • The Chinese is identical but the English is vastly different. One sign is even cheering us on. Rah Rah! On Drunken Drivers!
  • The lovingly rendered swirly beer-bottle, wine-glass, star-thing seems to be the universally accepted chinese depiction of the bedrunkened person. However, the designs are not identical. I question why they would use the same basic design if they weren't going to just steal the exact design. Which leads me to...

Seriously. What. Is. The Deal. Withthisguy! His head looks like a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Chinese don't look like that. Humans don't look like that. Why go out of your way to alter his race, nay, his species, when the stick man has a got the lookin'-drunk-thing covered? He's got a believable, doped up, sleepy look, one which everyone can identify with.

Wow. Words cannot express how badly I want that whole sign on a T-Shirt. I must make this happen.


1 comment:

Deep said...

Hash shirt, if I ever saw one. On on!