We take the everyday designs for granted. And yet they are difficult to ignore. Simple words of caution alter our behavior. Stop, Go, No Trespassing. We are conditioned, somehow, to respond obediently. Wet Paint is one of those most commonly unquestioned warnings. No one wants to get their hands or clothes stained, so a simple beware is all that’s necessary. And yet sometimes Wet Paint signs remain intact long after the paint has dried. Is this abuse of power or benign neglect? Whatever the rationale, Wet Paint is simply not worth disobeying.
Here are some Wet Paint signs from the 1950s. Next time you see one, keep in mind the power of graphic design for good.