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Quentin Newark
Quentin Newark

Artists and Graphic Designers Remix Everyday Street Signs 

Quentin Newark
Quentin Newark

We often think of road signs as immutable designs. How else would a stop sign look? But someone had to come up with those iconic shapes. The UK is celebrating its 50th anniversary with its current system of road signage, created by Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir. The pair created new typefaces and standardized all the graphics for roadways across Britain in 1965. 

In honor of the occasion, the British Road Sign Project asked notable artists and designers to rework the circles, triangles, and squares of UK traffic signage. These designs, according to the project website, move away from “instructing people of speed limits and directions to poetically disrupting our everyday with designs that makes us stop, look and think about design and our environment in a slightly different way; less instructions and more pauses for thought.” The sign above, for instance, urges people to put down their devices and look around. 

These signs, on display at the Design Museum in London until October 25, are more playful than utilitarian. They would certainly cause an accident or two if motorists actually had to decipher them on the fly. But they provide a fun way to rethink ubiquitous, familiar objects from the urban landscape. We see street signs so often that they’re hard to notice, but these designs are impossible to ignore.  

Image Credit: Ben Kelly

Ken Kesey’s psychedelic road trip in the summer of 1964 took place in a bus called “Further.” 

Image Credit: Henrik Kubel

Which way should you go? 

Image Credit: Amelia Noble

Amelia Noble turns standard warning graphics into something more lyrical. 

Image Credit: Graphic Thought Facility

Street sign or bird illustration? 

Image Credit: Mark Bonner / GBH

It's my way or...

Image Credit: Spin

Warning: luchador masks ahead.

See more artistic takes on the road sign here

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Art
Art Lovers in England, Rejoice: France's Famous Bayeux Tapestry is Coming to the UK
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One of France’s most prized national treasures, the Bayeux Tapestry, is officially heading to England for exhibition. The loan will mark the first time the fragile 11th century work has left France in nearly 1000 years, according to The Washington Post.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced news of the loan in mid-January, viewed by some as a gesture to smooth post-Brexit relations with Britain, ABC reports. The tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a historically important event replete with guts and glory.

Stretching for 210 feet, the Bayeux Tapestry’s nine embroidered panels tell the tale of Harold, Earl of Wessex, who swore an oath to support the right of William, Duke of Normandy, to the English throne once King Edward (a.k.a. Edward the Confessor) died without an heir. But after Edward's funeral at Westminster Abbey, Harold breaks his oath to William so he could be crowned king instead. Believing he was the rightful ruler, William—today remembered as William the Conqueror—decides to wage war and ultimately defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

The historical narrative has endured for centuries, but the tapestry's provenance has been lost to time. Experts think that the artwork may have been created in England, shortly after the Battle of Hastings, although it’s unclear who designed and embroidered the scenes. Its original owner, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, the half-brother of William the Conqueror, may have commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry. He became Earl of Kent after the Battle of Hastings, and this new title would have afforded him access to skilled artisans, The Guardian explains.

The Bayeux Tapestry is currently on display in the town of Bayeux in Normandy. It likely won’t leave France until 2020, after conservators ensure that it’s safe to move the artwork. According to The Telegraph, the tapestry might be be displayed at the British Museum in 2022.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
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Design
This Snow Sculpture of a Car Was So Convincing Cops Tried to Write It a Ticket
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.

Winter is a frustrating time to be on the road, but one artist in Montreal has found a way to make the best of it. As CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports, his snow sculpture of a DeLorean DMC-12 was so convincing that even the police were fooled.

Simon Laprise of L.S.D Laprise Simon Designs assembled the prank car using snow outside his home in Montreal. He positioned it so it appeared to be parked along the side of the road, and with the weather Montreal has been having lately, a car buried under snow wasn’t an unusual sight.

A police officer spotted the car and was prepared to write it a ticket before noticing it wasn’t what it seemed. He called in backup to confirm that the car wasn’t a car at all.

Instead of getting mad, the officers shared a good laugh over it. “You made our night hahahahaha :)" they wrote on a fake ticket left on the snow sculpture.

The masterpiece was plowed over the next morning, but you can appreciate Laprise’s handiwork in the photos below.

Snow sculpture.

Snow sculpture of car.

Snow sculpture of car.

Note written in French.

[h/t WGCL-TV]

All images courtesy of Simon Laprise.

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