Thursday, January 12, 2012

Signposting In Seattle

These signs were posted next to freeways in Seattle on January 11th and 12th. If you want to express yourself to a whole lot of people cheaply and easily, it's hard to beat signposting on freeways.
The best place in Seattle to hang signs is on this fence behind Kobe Terrace Park. It's a very quiet and discreet spot with convenient parking, overlooking about a dozen lanes of heavy, heavy traffic. The sign above has been up for two days now, and has probably been read over a hundred thousand times. Seriously.
Although large signs are more dramatic, smaller signs stay up much longer - days and weeks as opposed to minutes or hours. If you really want to get a message out to a whole lot of traffic, small signs along the peripheries are the way to do it.
The signs are made by painting cardboard white and lettered by tracing with an overhead projector. I use a one inch foam brush and cheap black paint to fill them in and you wouldn't believe how quickly it goes once you get the hang of it.
These signs took about three hours to make and cost less than two dollars in materials. Placed alongside freeways up and down the west coast, they've been seen over a million times. Well over a million times.
Anything you can see while driving is a place you can put a sign and it'll be read.
The way to attach cardboard signs to fencing is with bungee cords and duct tape. Place sign against fence, stretch bungee across sign, tape the corners to the fencing, walk away. The whole process takes about fifteen seconds: eight or nine once you get good at it.

Next time you're on the freeway, take note of the fencing. Every piece of fence you see is a potential billboard. The more difficult it is to reach, the longer it'll stay up.

The question I get asked the most is "Is it legal?" and my answer is "So far." I've been doing this for over ten years now, posting over four thousand signs and have never been arrested. The half dozen or so times I've been stopped by cops resulted in little more than having to take the sign down.

My theory is that this is precisely the sort of thing that the First Amendment was intended to protect. If I'm wrong about that, then I'm sure it'll get hashed out in court.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good info. And encouraging. Thanks for all you do and have done for so long. -David