Category Archives: Signs


This art is on the side of one of the Austin Public Library branches in East Austin. I found it by chance when I stopped to take word photos from another sculpture out front, and I love it. I have it as the screen saver on my computer at work, and I have a framed photo of it in my kitchen.

This is my sign off to this summer’s blog – the future is a blank page, what will you write on it?


Street signs

There are loads of interesting signs on the street, not just in the mall, so here I’ll diversify a little… ; )

Ladies in abayas crossing at the light

Bilingual speed limit sign (complete with admonishing local cartoon man)

Corniche street sign

Sign at a construction site that made my Spanish brain kick in
(Trust me, there was no “diversión” happening behind that sign! A lot of
sweaty, dirty labor going on.)

Ladies in abayas shouldn’t litter

This parking lot divider is triply nice

Last but not least – this sign was in the DC airport right near the gate for my flight to Qatar, and all I could think was some things should not be “maximized”!

Mall signs

The other day I went to the mall *right* when it opened to take photos of zillions of signs without getting in anyone’s way (or having anyone in mine). It’s fascinating to see how they spell out all the English loanwords in so many different ways, and all the fonts…what can I say, I’m a word nerd. I got a lot of “who is the crazy sign photographer” looks, but I get those in the States too, so it’s universal. I prepared an extensive Flickr set of all of them for those of you who are interested – here I’ll highlight a few different kinds.  They fall into 4 main categories:

1. Businesses that try to maintain their logo, even if it doesn’t make full visual sense in Arabic.

2. Businesses that try to maintain their font, even it breaks linguistic rules of Arabic.

3. Businesses that use special letters to represent the English ones that don’t exist in Arabic. (This is common in Persian and Kurdish,usually “p” – they add 2 extra dots to the “b” – or “v” – they add 2 extra dots to the “f”.)

4. Business (more or less) as usual.

It was extremely fortunate that I saved the restaurants in the food court for last, because the security guard there told me in no uncertain terms that it was forbidden to take photos in the mall. It was to my benefit that none of his colleagues was as hyper about the rules, because I got probably 100+ shots before the ban went into place. This was the last one – seems fitting, no?