Design Signs

One of my pet design gripes is “designing for opening day”. The building looks great, everyone is congratulated, and THEN the problems start.

This seems to be the case with the new Amsterdam Public Library. It’s a building I love, I think its grand scale, light, and flow make it a great public space, and I’ve blogged about it before. but now that I’m using it I’m loving it less.

I was looking for some history books in a particular area. I found a computer terminal (there are lots dotted throughout the building, and I’ve never had any trouble finding a free one) and found the Dewey Decimal number of the subject I was looking up. Easy.

Then I went to find it on the shelves. Not so easy. The catalogue numbers do appear on the spines of the books, but they are not on any of the signage in the building. Not per floor or per shelf. What happened? Did some bright designer think they weren’t necessary?It got worse. I went into the multimedia floor to look for DVDs, it’s all streaming lines and soft blue light in there, and it’s a thoroughly modern ambiance. But there’s nowhere in the design concept for signs. Result? A helpful librarian has put these on the shelves.It’s all just bad design. No thought as to how the user will do one of the very basic functions in a library. Search.

Speaking of basic functions. The toilets are in the basement. There are no signs with that information on them either.


3 thoughts on “Design Signs

  1. You’re not the only one with a OBA beef. Why does the card cost so much? Why can’t I bring my bad upstairs? Must I pay for a locker? (and this was just the one on the Prinsengracht I’m talking about)

  2. I think the lockers are now operated by using your library card – but they’re downstairs near the toilets and the day I was there they were not working!

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