Sign News

Push or pull? New pictograms make it obvious

A pictogram of a yellow man pushing.
pushpullsigns.com ©
A pictogram of a yellow man pushing.

Have you ever tried to push open a door that has the word “Pull” clearly visible next to the handle you’re pushing? Or pulled a door that has “Push” on it?

Most people have, whether they admit it or not. But signmaker Alastair Cook has come up with what he believes is a foolproof solution – pictograms that show exactly whether to push or pull.

Well known pictures or symbols exist and are used internationally for sign applications such as “no smoking” and “emergency exits” but there isn’t an equivalent for “Push” and “Pull”; so generally the words are used. This isn’t very useful if we don’t understand that particular language, have reading difficulties, or are in a hurry; and a good image is always more noticeable and more quickly understood than words. So, in December 2009 a project to design push pull signs based on a picture was started and various designs were put forward and subject to market research over the next year or so. The images illustrated were found to be understood most quickly by the most people. The push symbol is as if the figure is pushing a car and the pull symbol is a figure pulling as if in a tug of war. For extra clarity and to give the impression of force and movement, the doors being pushed and pulled are bowed-shaped.

The colours decided on were yellow and black which are standard colours used for low light signage and also the best for use with people who have impaired vision. The most atheistically appealing door design turned out to be a bowed door with a black, yellow, black stripe.

The next stage was to create final usable picture signs for glass doors. These needed to be double sided, in order to be mounted on the inside of glass doors to prevent damage from weather and tampering when outlet is closed. The material to be printed on had to be both opaque and thin, so that the double sided image did not show through and the sign would be flat. In addition, the inks had to be resistant to sunlight and the adhesive had to not impact on the image.

The result is Push Pull Signs that are easy to apply, simple for everyone to understand, inviting, and durable. Standard size is A6 with other sizes and trade discount available by request. To protect the design from being copied, they have been registered with OHIM through Gadsden IP, a patent solicitor.

Find out more at www.pushpullsigns.com

Design by Hinchliffeart.co.uk