Signage Shenanigans: 40+ Instances Of Bold And Hilarious Public Displays
Signage is everywhere. Whether it’s on the road overhead, on the side of the highway, or in a shop window, good luck trying to avoid them because it’s next to impossible. Regarding selling something, most advertising is based on a business model that you can literally get a degree in (marketing).
Today, however, we’re going to be taking a look at people who decided to live on the edge and put up signs that they thought had the wit and humor to draw in the masses. These people had the courage to make people’s heads turn with their “special” taste in humor.
Yes, images on signs stand out, but most of the time, it’s the text that gets you. These 45 absurd signs prove that freedom of speech is in its heyday because people are willing to put the most ridiculous stuff on signs with no shame. Don’t worry. If your sign is that good, you can count on someone taking a photo and posting it on the internet for the world to see.
Speed limits are there to protect drivers on the road. However, once in a while, there will be that one person who is in more of a hurry than everyone else. This particular sign is especially for those people who can’t seem to have a heavy foot.
Speeding tickets work just fine to reduce the risk of people speeding. However, when that doesn’t work, they may need to ease up on the pedal. This sign is hilarious, so long as nobody actually lets go of the gas in the middle of the highway! That can be even more dangerous than speeding!
These days, it doesn’t take a lot to be famous. Most TikTokers rose to fame because they kept dancing in front of a camera and posting it online. A few years back, the “Damn, Daniel” kids got famous because of a video about white Vans.
All you need to do to get famous in 2022 is go viral. It doesn’t matter what for. You could be saying some controversial stuff or falling headfirst into mud. When your video hits millions of views, you can bet you’ll end up on a daytime talk show at the very least. What a fulfilling life!
Use electricity wisely
With the rising effects of climate change and global warming, many people encourage others to do their part in minimizing their carbon footprint more than ever. One of the ways people are doing this is using their electricity wisely. Turn off the lights in any room that isn’t occupied.
This PSA for using electricity wisely is so clever. The brand took up an entire billboard but only turned on one light so onlookers could see the text at night. It takes the message to a whole new level. At least, they truly practice what they preach.
Adam & Eve
This may not be a part of the culture in other parts of the world, but in some places, places of worship may have signage outside of their buildings. This is typically used to announce any events or if there is an exciting guest speaker coming.
However, some places of worship will opt to put out funny messages in order to pique people’s interest. This particular synagogue gave the Apple Terms and Conditions a little twist, incorporating it with the Fall of Man in Genesis. Smart, huh?
No nonsense coffee guide
Ordering coffee can be confusing if you’re not someone who frequently consumes it. The menu will provide a wide range of different kinds of coffee, and you may be wondering, “What on earth do all these Italian words mean?” Well…
This café is smart for putting out a no-nonsense coffee guide for customers who aren’t familiar with coffee. Basically, all these drinks, except for a couple, are coffee served a different way with slight variation. This is such a useful guide!
Nowadays, people opt not to hire help to clean the house. Why would they when the Roomba exists? This feisty little robot cleans every nook and cranny in the house without you having to lift a finger. But sometimes, it has a mind of its own.
We love this ad because it just looks like Higgins the Roomba decided to run away from home. He was probably tired of all the cleaning these people made him do. He saw an open door and just went for it.
Over, not under
The toilet paper debate has been a longstanding discussion that has torn friendships and families apart. People can’t seem to agree on the correct way to place the toilet roll on the wall. This public restroom decided to put it all to rest.
They have an interesting take on this issue, comparing “over and under” to beards and mullets. We’re sure not everyone who uses this bathroom stall will agree. But at least there is a PSA out there about this particular matter.
Jurassic Park job
Some workplaces like construction sites are very accident-prone. Dealing with heavy machinery and being on scaffolds can be fatal if workers aren’t careful. Many of these places have an accident count to keep track of. The higher the number of days since the last accident, the better.
This is this workplace’s attempt to bring some lightness into an otherwise heavy situation. No, these people don’t work at Jurassic Park, but let’s pretend the incident is velociraptor-related. It makes death a little easier to accept. Rest in peace, Pete.
Print shops are an important part of everyone’s lives, even though not everyone realizes it yet. At some point in their lives, businesses, schools, and personal individuals will have benefited from their local print shop. But even then, these shops still need to market effectively to go beyond their recurring customers.
How many people actually know how to spell “Congratulations” without autocorrect or autofill? We can bet that this print shop has seen plenty of typos in its lifetime, including somebody who probably spelled it “Congrajlashins.” This street sign is certifiably hilarious.
You would think that the GPS on your phone or car would be the most accurate way to get you to your destination. However, sometimes these technologies need updating. A road that once was there may not be there any longer, and you’ll end up following the GPS to a dead end.
The proprietors of this land are probably familiar with people passing by, looking around for signs of life. That’s probably why they put up this sign because they know there’s a dead end ahead. This is a useful sign, though. Imagine if it weren’t there.
No emergency phone
Emergency phones are supposed to be situated in spots around the city so that anyone can use them in case of an emergency. However, with everyone glued to their cell phones, public and emergency phones are becoming obsolete these days.
This sign would have been pretty innocent, but the second half is what makes it ridiculous! “Please do not have an emergency at this location,” as if an emergency is something one can plan for and bet on happening!
Yellow wet floor signs are there so that people know to avoid the area or walk it carefully lest they slip and fall. They’re only meant to be there after janitorial services have just mopped or after something spilled on the floor.
Someone thought it’d be a good joke to let a wet floor sign surf through a swimming pool. Technically, they’re not wrong! The pool does have a floor as its base, and it is wet because there’s water on it.
Gender reveal party
It’s common these days for expecting mothers to hold a gender reveal party. To make it clear, this is an event during which the parents and everyone in the family find out whether they’re having a baby boy or girl.
Of course, without context, and to someone who has no idea what a gender reveal party is, it might not mean the same thing. The sign outside this El Arroyo takes the point of view of someone who doesn’t understand that this is not the point of a gender reveal party.
Remember that film Sharknado, where it’s just people in terror of a tornado full of sharks? It may seem like a pretty wild, out-there premise. But execs actually put money into that movie to make it possible. So what can we learn from this?
Never be afraid to share your ideas. No matter how terrible it is, you can count on at least one person in the room to back you up. And who knows, maybe it’ll end up being the next blockbuster hit or viral meme.
Road signs are meant to tell you whether there are any dangers ahead or any twists and turns in particular that drivers need to watch out for. When the sign “Loose gravel” is put out, it normally means small, tiny rocks on the pavement, which may deter cars.
You know, actual gravel, in the literal meaning of the word. Not this big block of a boulder that just rolled down a hill. It doesn’t even look like there’s a way for cars to pass through here. That’s not loose gravel. That’s a loose boulder!
Who you gonna call?
Some cultural references are so well-known that you can do a call and response situation, and people will understand what to say. The Ghostbusters theme song, for example, is one that is beloved by many. When someone says, “Who you gonna call?” you know what the answer is.
This road sign took advantage of this cultural phenomenon to get people’s attention on the highway. Seeing “Who you gonna call” is definitely going to turn some heads. The sign then switches into a PSA for not calling while driving.
Some signs are put up around residential areas to protect the privacy of the people living there. However, with these privacy signs, the wording has to be correct. Otherwise, it may be confusing for those who read it. Check out this sign placed on a gate.
“This is a private sign.” Maybe it should have been worded, “This is a private property” instead? We’re not sure what constitutes a private sign. Also, by the time people reach the second part of the sign, it’s too late – they’ve already read it!
The one to blame
When the COVID-19 virus shook the world in early 2020, people were frustrated, and many tried to place the blame on others. The discourse around the start of the pandemic cornered a specific group of people, which wasn’t the kindest thing to do.
This particular sign really puts the burden on one person when nobody should be condemned for something so much bigger than mankind could have controlled. Signs like this are inconsiderate and insensitive, and we hope this isn’t still going around.
How to wash your hands
There are many educational methods to teach people how to wash their hands properly. Some say you should wash your hands for as long as it takes you to sing Happy Birthday twice. Others use charts with images to guide them.
This sign describes it like no other, though. How clean should you wash your hands? Like you’ve been eating Doritos, and you have to take your contacts out. Nobody wants Dorito-stained fingers in their eyes! We’d say this is a successful PSA!
Dumbing it down
Signs need to be clear and straightforward enough for people to understand. You’d be surprised at how slow some people can be. Oftentimes, you have to dumb down the sign so that people would know what to do and why they should do it.
Fire + fuel = kaboom. You’d think everyone with the ability to read would understand why there is to be no smoking on a fuel dock. But you just have to clarify to them just how fatal it can be if they were to smoke there.
Not that kind of pole
Do you know how one word can have different meanings and connotations depending on the context in which you use them? When you hear the word “pole,” – some may think of a tent pole, others may think of the north pole, while others may think of pole dancing.
We’re not sure what kind of public place this sign was placed in, but if they even had to put this sign up, it probably meant that someone used the tent pole for something other than its designed purpose. We’re just laughing at the “disappointing your father” sentence.
Some malls and restaurants have valet services available to make parking easier for visitors. Unfortunately, people who are in a pinch would often use this as a guise to steal cars from places that don’t even offer valet, to begin with.
This place is smart to put up this sign, as it warns guests of the evil schemes that may be going around. They do so in a creative way, too, as it doesn’t merely say “No valet.” It engages the reader of the sign, especially this plot twist!
Don’t tap the glass
Aquariums and zoos will have signs around glass enclosures warning visitors not to tap on the glass. This may agitate the animals inside and is potentially harmful to other visitors. In this photo, this bakery employs the same strategy.
Okay, yes, the donuts won’t suddenly erupt in fury when the glass is tapped. But using the same concept as zoos and aquariums in order to stop customers from tapping on the glass is a pretty creative way to do it. Also, imagine a donut apocalypse.
What would you do if you had to choose between keeping your girlfriend and your dog? This is a ridiculous question, to begin with. But because this dude is on the side of the road with his dog and his belongings scattered around him, we know what he chose.
To be fair, if his girlfriend made him choose this way, he’s probably better off without her. She’s probably jealous that the dog gets more attention than her. Of course, the dog would get more attention. We don’t deserve dogs!
Keep Max out
Local strays often visit public spaces. Max here is one of them. He loves visiting the library and curling up under a table as people read. But the library doesn’t want Max in there, and Max’s owner doesn’t either.
To pull the public together in an effort to keep Max out, the library stuck this sign on the door. We personally don’t see a problem with there being a cat in the library. But we can understand how it can be a bit of a cleanliness issue.
Lower your expectations
In the service industry, guests and customers are gods. It doesn’t matter if they’re wrong because they’re always right. This is why this industry isn’t for the weak-hearted. However, every now and again, some places will stand up for themselves.
This is meant to be a funny sign, perhaps merely for display rather than to be taken seriously. But we can imagine some Karens out there who might be offended by this and kick up a fuss. As long as this restaurant knows what they’re getting themselves into, they should be fine.
Step ladders only
Some signs are very blunt and direct. Warning signs are specially created that way so that the reader can understand quickly and take the required course of action. Of course, there are always jokesters out there that can make light of even the most serious of situations.
Step ladders are a specific kind of ladders with steps instead of rungs. This person who stuck the Post-It on did a pretty punny job, taking the word “step” to mean both the steps on the ladder and “step” like a stepdad.
Pay two, get two
Everyone loves a good Buy One Get One deal. Slap a BOGO sign outside of your store, and you’ll have a line in no time. This BOGO sign is unlike the other ones, though. You really have to read it carefully to understand what it means.
Do you get it now? Yup, there basically is no deal. Pay for two burgers and get two burgers like you normally would. You have to hand it to the copywriter. They really know how to catch people’s attention.
Abby, where are you?
Employees are required to work their shifts and show up on time every time. Unfortunately, some are more difficult to handle than others. Many have even disappeared without any notice. This Dairy Queen took measures into its own hands.
We don’t know how long it’s been since Abby last showed up for work. But if the store had to go to this extreme to reach out to her, we’re pretty sure she hasn’t been coming in for a while! Do you think she’ll come back to work after seeing this sign?
Talking on the phone while driving is dangerous anyway, but it used to be much more hazardous before the time of hands-free calls. With hands-free, there’s no need for drivers to hold their phones in one hand and the steering wheel in the other.
This isn’t what the sign meant by “hands-free.” But this biker took it literally anyway. This is proof that when worded incorrectly, signs can actually produce the opposite effect of what they intended to achieve. We hope this biker made it home safely.
Have you ever tried ordering a drink at Starbucks and were corrected for your choice of drink size? When you only want a small drink, they’ll say, “Do you mean a tall?” A medium drink is grande, and a large drink is a venti. We only have one question: why?
It’s so much easier to say small, medium, and large, like literally every other coffee place in the world. It doesn’t confuse customers, and it’s clear as day. This café made sure that their customers knew that ordering with them is simple.
Not a drill
In public buildings, fire alarms would often go off as a drill. When this happens, people would have to follow safety protocols to get to the designated evacuation spot. With how often drills happen, many would treat every alarm that goes off as a drill.
That’s why announcements over the PA system would sometimes say, “This is not a drill,” when it’s actually a real emergency. In the case of this sign, it most certainly is not a drill. Not because an alarm has gone off, but because it’s actually a hammer.
Unfortunately, some marriages don’t last forever. “Til death do us part” is conditional, dependent on circumstances, and bound to change. That’s where divorce lawyers come in. Of course, one would want only the best that is fit for the job.
Who better to represent you in a divorce case than Ditcher, Quick, and Hyde? If you still don’t get the joke, we advise you to read the sign over and over again, slowly at first and then with increasing speed. Did you get it?
Public parks are great spaces for people to enjoy fresh air, spend time in nature, and exercise. Many would bring their pets to the park as well, as their homes don’t allow the animals to run around as freely as they should. However, some parks enforce a leash rule.
What this means is that dogs should be kept on a leash so as not to cause too much commotion with other dogs. But children? We know there are leashes for toddlers nowadays, but why would they have to be kept on a leash? Also, some children. Which children?
The Yoda conundrum
The Spice Girls took the world by storm in the ‘90s. They were icons of that generation, and everyone was obsessed. They had every friendship group trying to decide who in their group was Sporty Spice, Posh Spice, Scary Spice, Ginger Spice, and Baby Spice.
With the new Mandalorian series on Disney+, fans of Star World were introduced to Baby Yoda. This sign just wants to raise awareness of the fact that there should be an alternate universe in which the Spice Girls were just Spice Yodas.
Crying is not an emergency
Amusement parks offer a variety of rides for all levels of adrenaline junkies. Of course, there are the appropriate, non-scary kiddy rides, too. But for little kids, these rides can be terrifying. They might wish to get off the ride once it gets going.
This park had to clarify that crying is not, in fact, an emergency, and they won’t stop the ride when they see tears. In other words, the kids are just going to have to suck it up until the ride is over. Traumatizing, huh?
Prophesying, tarot reading, mediums—these are all skills that one can learn in order to be able to figure out the future. If you’re into the more spiritual stuff, that is. But even then, man is a mere man. We can’t possibly predict everything.
If you think about it, the teachers in this prophecy class should have been able to foresee the circumstances which would eventually cause the cancellation. But alas, sometimes, even the experts get it wrong. It’s just ironic and uncanny in this context.
How to wash your hands, part 2
Remember the Doritos analogy from earlier? Well, here’s another one that might help you gauge how well you should wash your hands. We would argue that this analogy has higher stakes than the previous one. Check it out.
Imagine not washing your hands clean enough and getting sauce on your wedding dress. Those photos are forever. You’re going to show your children the wedding footage, and they’re gonna ask, “Mommy, what’s on your dress?” And that, kids, is why you should always wash your hands thoroughly.
Know the difference
Urgent care or emergency care? Many people classify urgency and emergency as the same thing. It’s all an emergency when it’s a bad thing that happens unexpectedly. However, going to emergency care for every single thing actually affects healthcare workers negatively.
Going to the proper division for treatment will allow emergency care workers to treat patients with actual life-threatening emergencies. This is an excellent clear, concise way to inform people how to distinguish between the two infirmaries. But also, we hope nobody has to experience stepping on a bee or a beehive.
Read the fine print
Legally, there is certain information that businesses must disclose to their consumers. However, sometimes this information may discourage people from buying their products. So, businesses would include said info in the fine print instead. It’s small enough to be legible, and legally they’ve done what they’re supposed to do.
IKEA also had to clarify that their $1 cinnamon buns weren’t actually giant billboard size. They’re normal cinnamon roll size, and the photo on the sign is just for visibility purposes. Then again, who would expect to buy cinnamon rolls that large? Actually, we are sure this is a result of people complaining about this!
How many of you reading this like to check whether an item is in-store online before coming in and purchasing it in person? How many of you walk in knowing what you’re looking for and asking the clerk to check if it’s in-store?
Maybe the clerks at this store are tired of being asked the same question day in and day out. That’s probably why they have this sign in big red letters. Basically, don’t ask the clerks whether your item is in stock. Look for it yourself, and if you find it, that means they have it!
One of the key advertising principles is copy that catches people’s attention. Nothing gets people going more than talking about their love life. That’s probably why this ad for roof shingles did so well. It’s basically a dating ad on a billboard.
Do you get the pun? Yup, remove the H from “shingles,” and you’ll get a description of almost every person passing by this billboard in their cars. At the end of the day, we’re all just hot ‘shingles’ looking to get nailed.
Out of order
Out-of-order signs notify you that you can’t use that particular cubicle or toilet. Sometimes, these signs are helpful in guiding you to the nearest available toilet. But other times, they’re not very useful at all. For example, the sign in this McDonald’s.
As you can see, there was another sign underneath this one for the children’s ball pit. Someone must have thought it was funny to rip the top sign right there. Sure, it’s funny. But “Ronald McDonald’s Secret Play Space” just screams creepy.
You see a variety of signs in toilet cubicles. Depending on where you are in the world, you may get signs like do not squat on the toilet, do not flush sanitary products down the toilet, or even do not flush toilet paper down the toilet.
This is the first time we’re seeing this sign in a toilet. You would think you’d find this at the shallow end of a public pool. But nope. Apparently, someone attempted to dive into the toilet and follow the water system out to the ocean.