The first thing that came to my mind when I first saw these street signs was: am I the only one that thinks these things look like something I might find at Knotts Berry Farm or the dopey French Quarter at Disneyland?
There is something odd about the idea that a street sign needs to be treated as an “aesthetic” object – meaning that it is subject to the whims of visual preference among some class of people self-appointed to pass judgement on such things. A street sign is a street sign. The first necessity is functionality. Can it be read easily, and read at night? Is is affordable? After all, the taxpayer is footing the bill, rarely the individual who makes the “design” choice.
But there is something more subtle and just as pernicious as mistaking a utilitarian object for an artistic one. And that is the application of boneheaded and embarrassing aesthetic choices. We have already illustrated the confused thinking behind the aesthetic viewpoint that prefers the curved to the straight line, the complicated over the simple. Remember this post on Fullerton’s goofy redevelopment sidewalks?
And in our numerous posts that have railed against fake old we have also criticized the bureaucratic bad taste that adores the hideous old-timey themes so prevalent in insecure places like Fullerton. Who knows why there is a hump on the top of these signs? Is it something someone saw somewhere? Something picked at random out of a street sign catalogue by a traffic engineer? Are we supposed to discern an echo of the Mission Revival espadana in the hump – like those disgusting Taco Bell outlets of the 80s? Who cares?
This is just another example of confusion: confusion that a street sign needs to be gussied up; confusion that a hump on top is better than a simple rectangle; and confusion that the inclusion of the almost illegibly dinky word “Fullerton” somehow adds something to the ensemble.
Say, whatever happened to that Country Bear Jamboree?