Posts tagged “netherlands”

Localized Wayfinding

Airport Wayfinding, Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, May 2009

The first time I ever encountered localized parking designation was my childhood visit to Disney World; the tram drivers reminded us we were parked in Goofy 7 or Mickey 7 or something. Of course, I still enjoy taking note of it (see a recent post here). The highly-localized version above was entertaining and both confusing and educational (the herring icon makes no sense until one discovers that the Dutch really love their herring). Now, this confusion is inevitable when traveling and (as I’ve written about before) can be a great opportunity for learning. And practically, most people that park at the airport are locals, not incoming tourists, so there is little impact on the experience from not understanding the reference. Indeed, since nothing about the icon is meant to convey its function, serving only to label a particular region, visitors can still make use of the bird-on-a-post (?) icon perfectly well, without any understanding of its meaning.

What’s In A Business Name?

Lunchroom Hannibal, Amsterdam, May 2009
Don’t order the fava beans with the chianti.

Challenger Copyprint, Amsterdam, May 2009
Not the most encouraging association.

Synergy Project Management, San Francisco, July 2009
Needs a better illustration of the concept of synergy besides a plain ol’ pipe!

we bring you a pizza, Amsterdam, May 2009
U-Wash Doggie, Los Angeles, February 2009

Some names tell you what the business does.

Hand Car Wash, Los Angeles, February 2009
Trashy Lingerie, Los Angeles, February 2009
Ethical Drugs, Los Angeles, February 2009

Some names tell you something about how they do it.

See more pictures from Amsterdam here and Los Angeles here.

What do you want to have?

Window sign, Amsterdam, May 2009

It’s pretty clear from the list of items available who this store (adjacent to a nice hotel) is catering to

Gifts, wannahaves, cold drinks, candy, souvenirs and: toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, nailclippers, lighters, shavingfoam, adapters, batteries, toys, Delft blue, jewelry, magnets, T-shirts, caps, bags, kitchenstuff, dolls, etcetera ..

But what the heck is a wannahave? Seems to be Dutch slang for a desirable artifact (obvious, I guess). There’s even Wannahaves International

WHS International BV is owner, Publisher and exploiter of the international brand Wannahaves(r). Wannahaves primarily targets young modern men in age range 18-34.

And to that point, the navigation on their website includes: Gadgets, Games, Babes and Lifestyle.

I guess I’ve learned a new word!

Meanwhile, photos from our trip to Amsterdam are slowly going up here.

Global standards and interoperability

Top: Toilet paper (US)
Bottom: Toilet paper (Netherlands)

A research respondent recently described their challenges in redistributing goods from abroad, since it turns out that a “standard” shipping palette is actually a different size in the US and in Europe. Do conflicting standards necessarily inhibit interoperability? Would North American toilet paper operate properly in a Dutch dispenser? And what do those different standards say about our history, perspective, or values? Is the gestural usage different? Are hands or bottoms in different relative proportions here or there? Is there a different tradeoff around cost and (perceived?) cleanliness?

See my Amsterdam pictures here (Note that as of this writing, only a few have been uploaded, but there are plenty more to come in the next few weeks).


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