Thursday, September 30, 2010

Safety First

Leaving the normal bubble makes me look at things as if they were totally new. Today's revelation, on planes to Denver by way of Minneapolis, was about Safety Cards and Gradients. Gradients often look cheesy. But the inflatable life vest is the perfect use of flat (uninflated) and gradients (inflated). A gradient gives volume to the inflated vest of a preternaturally-calm traveler.

Simple, universal icons aren't so simple to do. On the "Exit if" info shown below, the fire looks friendly (popcorn anyone) and the debris looks like styrofoam.

Of course, you don't want a Safety Card to show terrified people holding their heads and screaming; stylization is the only way to go. That said, panels 3 and 4 are amusingly playful. I particularly enjoy the intrepid "we can do it" woman in the blue skirt, arms akimbo.

Finally, one segmment shows a baby every mother must love in a catastrophe: a child who'll calmly stay with arms outstretched throughout the vest-donning process. I've never been a mother, but I imagine that the instructions will be jettisoned in favor of instinct to make sure the real child stays as calm as the kid below.

1 comment:

Suzanne Dell'Orto said...

Righto. These people look nothing like the real life, calmly terrified and windswept airplane orphans who stood wearing life vests on the wing of the US Airways jet that crash landed in the Hudson last year. No gradients! No popcorn! No styrofoam!

I'm fascinated by the superwomen who seem to do everything on this card: put the life vest on herself, her teenage son, her baby, and then help other passengers off the wing and down the slide. Go women!