Give Your Readers What They Need

I traveled to Tucson, Arizona, last week, where I saw this perfect example of giving readers what they need:

East is to the Left

Can you tell immediately what I appreciated? Do you like it?

Because this sign was at a tourist attraction, the Mission San Xavier, it makes perfect sense to tell visitors which way is east. 

As a longtime Seattle resident, I often notice visitors who appear confused when they read our parking signs. That is because the signs say things like "No Parking West of Here," and visitors aren't sure which direction is west.

My guess is that people at the Mission San Xavier got tired of pointing people toward the gift shop, and they decided to fix the sign. Nice work!

Syntax Training  



  1. Lynn,

    In addition to keeping the overall message easy to understand and with clear directions, they followed a third cardinal rule of sign making–they kept the wording brief. The sign is complete at only 13 words. Bravo!

  2. It might have been desirable to insert an apostrophe between the words “affordable” and “gift.” Otherwise, it sounds as though the gift shop is affordable. 🙂

  3. Would you use a period at the end of sentence on a sign?

    For example:
    All drivers of vehicles
    over 20 ft in length must
    check in with manager before entering the facility

  4. Hi, June. Because I am not a sign specialist, I asked Paula Diaco of Sign-a-Rama Vermont ( ) for her expert opinion. Here is Paula’s response:

    “As sign makers, we focus on clarity and ease of reading. After all, signs are meant to convey information and important messages, and they need to be visually appealing to be effective.

    “While it wouldn’t be incorrect to have a period at the end of the sentence, it’s not required. Signs are visual and the text is just as easily read without the period. Sometimes, it actually looks odd to have a period, and in that case, simply leave it off the sign.”

    Thanks for the question, June. And thank you, Paula, for the answer!



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here