Be brief

Sometimes wordiness can be a hindrance. For example, imagine you’re stuck in a lift and you read this sign. It might be picky, but what you really need is a simple, straightforward message. You want the sign to be clear, with as few words as possible. So perhaps this would have been better:

If you’re trapped and the alarm sounds
call this number…

The original had 16 words, whereas the alternative has just 11 and gets the message across more succinctly. You could even drop the word you’re as well and so reducing the word count to 10. Of course, if you were really trapped in a lift with ‘Alarm Bells’ sounding, you’d probably skip-read the message and already be dialling the emergency number…

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