Link of the Week: Inviting “Warning” Signs

Imagine you’re touring the grounds of a historic manor on the English countryside, and you pass a warning sign. It says, “Keep on the grass.”

Yes, you did read that right.

The National Trust (a conservation agency that protects England’s historic country houses) commissioned UK firm The Click Design to create a series of signs that look like warnings at first glance, but are actually invitations for visitors to explore and enjoy the grounds. Intended to make the experience of touring these Downton Abbey-like estates feel a little less stuffy, these mock-warning signs delight with playful messages like “Please do sit here. It’s such a lovely spot” and “Please do touch the trees – or even hug them!” The campaign, aptly called Nature’s Playground, also has a clever social media strategy: each sign features a hashtag (#NaturesPlayground), encouraging visitors to tweet their experiences and change perceptions that way.

These ingenious designs trick the mind, subvert expectations, and ultimately, surprise and delight. In our minds, they are sure to spice up a visitor’s experience.




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