Toilet Signs!

Good design sometimes shows up where you least expect it.

Guess I won't be knocking then.

I guess I won't be knocking then.

How many public restrooms have you tried to use, found locked, and weren’t sure if it was occupied or not? Check out this signage found at a random gas station restroom somewhere in the San Fernando Valley. It’s message, simple yet so helpful: both in explaining the locking convention and eliminating any meaningless interactions with the gas station clerk. (Though I admit I have no idea what “Mobil” means – it wasn’t a mobile bathroom – maybe it was the name of the genius who put the sign up)

This second example was found inside a porter-potty in the parking lot before a Giants football game in New Jersey. Dry and precise in its wording, it warned of a gruesome fate if the technology were to be pushed beyond its limits.


Informative yet terrifying.

Okay, so at the time it seemed a bit out of context, rather than 10 people and a normal work week, the surroundings consisted of over 80,000 people and 5-10 hours of hard tailgating. So I kept my fingers crossed that the math was done correctly and there was enough of these in the vicinity to keep from any “unsanitary and overloaded” conditions.

All around helpful signage in this oh-so-important area of our lives.


13 Responses to Toilet Signs!

  1. Joe says:

    I’m pretty sure “Mobil” is a ‘brand’ of gas station. Like esso, BP, Texaco etc

  2. Joe says:

    I’m pretty sure that Mobil is the name of a Petrol supplier, Like Esso, BP, Texaco, etc. Maybe the station was once owned by them?

  3. Hmm, that seem likely, though it’s still an odd place/font for a corporate stamp to appear. I mean, do we assume that all Mobil station bathrooms lock the same way? Maybe this sign was special ordered from headquarters because of regular a series of bathroom altercations…

    Wait a minute — check out all of the scuff marks on original sign! It look like something did indeed go down here. I should’ve asked more questions when I had the chance.

    …or maybe I should start moonlighting as a detective.

  4. Harsha says:

    I agree with your comments on the first one, but I strongly feel like it should be “Restroom is occupied only when locked” or “Restroom is only occupied when locked”. That sign just doesn’t sound right.

  5. True, but when you approach the restroom you’re probably more likely to first arrive at the conclusion that it’s locked rather than occupied. So in that case shouldn’t “locked” come first?

    Because if you were sure it was occupied, either by hearing someone on the other side of the door or watching them go in before you, then you’d no longer need to know that it was locked.

  6. Harsha says:

    Hmm… I see your point

  7. Brandon says:

    I suspect the sign is not intended to benefit you or other restroom users. My guess is that it’s there because the clerk is tired of being asked for the key to the restroom and having to say there is no key, the restroom is only locked when occupied.

  8. Thanks for making the effort to share this with us, just loved it.

  9. Looking forward to reading more. Great blog.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

  10. Why thank you. stayed tuned for much more.. including a Toilet Signs Round 2 later this year. That’s right.

  11. great many thanks producing regarding

  12. […] with the bathroom theme, this Florida bathroom had two doors, one that opens to the house and one to the outside. I […]

  13. digital signage company…

    […]Toilet Signs! « Infinite User: a human factors and technology weblog[…]…

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