Here are some signs that made me blink and think.

Signage isn’t the first, or only, tactic to think about when designing a behaviour change project.

However a nicely designed sign can do a lot of support work, reminding people of the correct behaviour and, importantly, projecting social norms.

And signs are often the only long-term legacy of a project – so they deserve care and attention.

P.S. Notice that there are plenty of non-conventional ‘signs’ here! A sign doesn’t have to be a flat, square and on a stick.

1) Location location

High impact local data, at the toilet entrance – where almost everyone passes by! So simple.

Dawson River, Queensland

Is this the world’s most potent behavioural sign? These touching memorials always make me think, and feel.

Litchfield Park Rd, NT

Here are some signs perfectly positioned at the spot where people make their choices:

Taxi, Melbourne.
Sign of the dog poo fairy!
That’s simple and direct!
I’ll grab one while I wait at the lights! (Neighbourly Ride is a Melbourne cycling group.)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney (it worked for us!).

2) “I can do that” moments

Probably the single most effective use of a sign in a behaviour change project is to DEPICT THE CORRECT BEHAVIOUR, clarifying uncertainties that are inherent whenever we use just text.

A gentle ‘ting’ says ‘I’m passing safetly’. Yes, I can do that!

I mocked this up (Bulli shared track).

OK, not just slow down, but say ‘hi’ to people too. Yes, I can do that!

So that’s how to ‘not litter’. I can do that!

Corflute cutouts depicting real park users (Bankstown City Council).

Ikea-inspired instructions for being a street vendor. Now I can stay legal.

Chandy Chang –

3) The next great thing a sign can do is clarify social norms.

What does this community stand for?

Melbourne Market vendors.

Hey, here’s how I learned what other adults in my community think about alcohol and teenagers.

Marketing campaign on under-aged drinking in Kiama. Created by the Centre for Health and Social Research, Australian Catholic University. Fine details are here.

Hey my neighbour’s doing something about Lantana. Maybe I’ll talk to him.

Acknowledging Nicola Dixon, NSW DOI

Wow. My neighbours are ‘going FOGO’. I wonder what that’s about!

Nice move Wollongong City Council!

4) Humour

A light-hearted touch is a brilliant way to grab attention. Plus, it lowers resistance to otherwise harsh messages.

South Australia’s Motor Accident Commission shows how to do it!
A fishy idea from non-profit PANDAID,

Wanted! An outlaw cactus! Different to the traditional agricultural poster.

I mocked this up for Waggamba Landcare.

Yarra City’s litter bins are somewhat disturbing. I noticed them!

Zoos Victoria are genius! ‘Wipe for wildlife’ is a memorable campaign to get kids badgering their parents to buy recycled toilet paper. It’s fronted by Crapman – which, of course, is hilarious!

5) Here’s looking at you

Interestingly, it turns out that ‘don’t do it’ signs might get more compliance if they have forward-facing eyes. Here’s the research paper.

6) And lastly, here is a one-page guide to good sign-making.

I prepared this for the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, publication Protecting wildlife from domestic dogs.

Upcoming Changeology workshop (details and booking are here).