You would think that locking a door wouldn’t be difficult.

You would be wrong.

Everywhere I go, I notice signs clarifying how to do it.

New York City calls itself the capital of the world and yet its residents evidently struggle with this most basic task.

The photo above shows an office where someone felt the need to attach a plaque to the door to show how to turn the knob.

And this isn’t uncommon.

It happens everywhere. The response may differ, but the fundamental need to explain how to lock or unlock a door is the same.

Visiting Los Angeles, I came across this example:

The signs suggest that we all know we want to lock the door, but we aren’t sure how. And critically, we aren’t sure we have accomplished the task.

Hence the need for a visual indication of “Locked” or “Unlocked.”

What caught my attention was the guerrilla nature of the stickers. Plaques have a semi-official appearance, a permanence, that can fool you into thinking that they came with the door.

But everything about stickers make it clear that they were added later.

They are bootleg. They convey a sense of desperation. The person must have felt the need to post the warning couldn’t wait for an official solution and outweighed any potential embarrassment.

The stickers underscored the fact that some not insubstantial number of people found themselves unable to lock the door.

So many, in fact, that Senior Management felt compelled to act.

This is not a problem unique to America.

Here’s a door in London which also opted for stickers.

Some places are not organized enough even to buy a plaque or make a sticker.

Still the need persists.

And its so strong that it overcomes what would otherwise seem like a social taboo.

I was in Denver earlier this year and came across this specimen.

The sign would not win a design award from Apple. But it gets the job done.

Its the kind of thing you can easily dismiss. But you shouldn’t.

Most people tune out these kinds of signs. But once you notice them they are impossible to ignore. You suddenly see them everywhere.

I find them encouraging. It reminds me that in a world where it’s hard to motivate most people to do much of anything, some people persist.

Hand made signs — however crudely they are drawn — are welcome reminders that some people care. They care so much they have to act.

My favorite hand made door sign is in New York. I like it because it is like the city itself: direct and It leaves nothing to the imagination, explaining every step of the process, and underscoring that it is IMPORTANT!

**Published by Ted Merz Jul 14, 2018 **