Scratching of head required...

...and even then, it's no guarantee you'll figure out the real meaning behind these masterpieces of ambiguity. At least this signage provides much needed entertainment and comic relief on our all-too-stressful urban roads.

Let's just hope that when it comes to something really important - like instructions for handling nuclear waste and warnings to avoid the giant killer bee nests, they would not screw up the message.

(image credit: Uhull)

(image credit: Metro.co.uk)

Where is that frigging lane? -

Zebra to nowhere:

Another great zebra:

Seek divine guidance:
Seriously, the sign underneath says: "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him..."(Psalm 37:5)

A place in Ohio:

(sent in by Johnny Ringo)

Crossing Gamble: 14 "lanterns" in the Central Business District in Melbourne, Australia.
- via

(image credit: HobbiesPlus)

This is how you should draw the pedestrian. Not the other way. Got it? -

(image credit: artlebedev)

Warning signs to die for:

(Sent by Arthur Schneider - seen at the blue waterfalls in the state of Chiapas, Mexico)

Clear & concise message:

Not clear... not concise... maybe not even a message:

Must be fun -

More info on this device here)

Not fun -

(image credit: Mark Knowles)

Wow -
(hitch a ride)

Grass-roots Sign Embellishments

Local gamers seem to have good sense of humor:

(image credit: Photobasement)

See also the similar one here

(original unknown)

The Uglier, the Better

Why make it ugly? To make you look, of course! The longer you stare at it trying to ponder the impossibilities of artist's taste and upbringing, the more susceptible you'll be to its message.

Try to avoid examining this "fantasy" painting for Russian swimmers:

"Guess who protects this park at night" -

(images credit: artlebedev)

This guy decided to advertise his VOICE. By putting a small ad close to his balcony: "Free! Singing of songs by phone. My own compositions."

Perhaps the neighbors complained that he was singing it on the balcony, so now he's reduced to singing them by phone. Poor soul -

"Sausage Store" -

New take on Pinocchio in children's magazine:

Can you tell what's shown on that logo? -

It's a cachalot, a sperm whale. The company's name rocks, too - "The Center for Materialization of Thought" (sounds almost like something from Douglas Adams books)

Now, this would give anybody the creeps -

Seen in a Russian clinic, the saying above the door goes: "Best cure against any illness - pure air, pure water and the axe"
Yes, the AXE (with which to split wood). Figure this one out.

(images credit: artlebedev)

Very effective sign at the cemetery:
"Do not trample on the corpses. For God's sake! Please..."

"FREE! Little pieces of paper to tear off" -

Seen in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany -
(aimed at American tourists?) -

(sent in by Dennis De Daap)

Toilet (signage) Humor

Somewhere in Turkey:

(image credit: up218r)

Men / Ladies - Fridge??

Befuddled, exasperated, confused - keep the customer entertained

These are labels and price tags. At least they are supposed to be helpful pieces of text... as it is, they are awesome pieces of silliness (which often has me guessing if these label makers first visit reddit, digg etc, and then create such hilarity on purpose)

(image credit: Mark Knowles)

Some weird (great) Japanese packaging with mysterious creatures:

(image credit: adme)

"To find out, insert and play" -
At least, this is creative - and no doubt causing multitude of males to pop it into their CD player:

Robot Milk -

Great navigational aid for Tokyo subway:

Teleportation is even better! -

A deal is a deal -

Unorthodox thinking makes for great signage

Good creative stuff:

(image credit: TheGreatArchitect)

Great attraction for geeks (not really a sign yet, only an idea):

(image credit: IronicSans)

(image credit: Jez)

Something for your office:

Variations on a theme:

(original unknown)

Traditionally, we finish with some Engrish:

Cow something...

(image credit: photobasement)

(found on this page. See more there)

(submitted by Samantha Gordano, seen in Kawaguchi-ko, Japan)

(sent in by Alastair Budge and Racetraitor)

(image credit: Mark Knowles)

(sent in by Jon Dunbar)

Good luck to keep them all! -

(original unknown)

For uncredited photos please let us know who the original photographers are, so that we could include this info. Wherever credits are known, photos are published by permission of original photographers


Also read other parts in "Weird Signs" series!

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Category: Signs,Weird


Visual Caffeine #8
Visual Caffeine, Issue 8

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Visual Caffeine #7
Visual Caffeine, Issue 7

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Art Deco
Imperial Dreams: Art Deco Update

Wings, Gears, & Glamorous Ladies

1970s SciFi
DRB Pics-of-the-Day

Grand Space Adventure 1970s Art

"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Turkish "magic atmosphere" sign is in Ephesus (Efes). I expect it's just there for tourists to take pictures of, since everybody speaks English admirably.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the axe is to get rid of ill people to keep yourself healthy (yeah I know, not really following the human rights, but it is Russia after all).

And for the "Religion Free DVD Player" I guess it's a mistranslation of Region free.

Blogger Shelly M. Burrows said...

The Center of the World sign is in the Leavittsburg-Warren area in Ohio. I have seen it often when I lived there.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "insert tongue in centre" cd is a Bloodhound Gang album I think. And yes, I did insert tongue in centre. (I was about 13, be fair!)

Blogger danielpauldavis said...

The Turkish bathroom sign was especially useful, and the joy on the characters' faces was largely accurate. When I was in Paris, I ended up once having to use a "toilette a la Turque." It's a urinal. Male or female, you squat and poop. This works fine if you're dressed in a robe like a Turk. If you're dressed like a civilized person, in pants, it is the biggest hassle of the entire vacation. So, yeah, I'd pay extra in Turkey for a real toilet.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great compilation of signs! Finally some new signs.. been seeing a lot of reposts lately

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The traffic lights you've got on there from Melbourne (La Trobe St) make perfect sense, I don't see why it's "hilarious"... There are arrows to turn left and/or go straight, the white arrow is for trams and the right arrow to turn right, obviously...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the author of the article :

Concerning the yellow "Tokyo Teleport Sta." Japanese sign :


Sorry to burst your smug imperialistic bubble, but "teleport" is correct in the sign. Teleport is short for "telecommunication port." The word is common in French. I really get tired of Americans and other native English-speakers laughing at foreigners who take the trouble of putting up signs in English because you are too stupid or lazy to make the effort to learn a few words of another language. You often make fun of Japanese for their "engrish" but I'd like to see how much dumber you would look if you tried to write even three words in Japanese.

Philippe Laurichesse.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, Philippe Laurichesse, you seem awfully smug yourself.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Philippe Laurichesse regarding his typically snobby ultra-socialist French-leaning comment... I find it comical that you lump Americans and other native English speakers together in a package of unabashed bias while in the same breath condemning us silly Americans for poking fun at a few individual translations found around the globe. Teleport means different things to different people. ha ha. We had a nice joke about it. But unlike you who believes it's appropriate to lump an entire culture and an entire people together as a mass of uneducated imperialists - we poke fun at a few select cases where a mistranslation becomes a thing of comedy.

There is a reason things are largely translated into English and not French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, etc. It's because English is, ever so slowly, becoming a universal connector language through which people from varying cultures can communicate.

And for the record, I am fluent in 3 languages; none of which are French; I've left the USA for extended periods of time, mostly to provide relief aid in third-world nations in central and south America, and I have multiple family members that have served in the military - including more than one who gave his life on the beaches of France.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isnt there a 'teleport town' on the edge of Tokyo bay, Japan – a futuristic area of city with some very unusual constructions? I wonder if that ‘teleport’ sign has any connection to that? Apparently the place is served by a ‘futuristic computer controlled monorail’ – so it may have something to do with that. As it mentiones Odaiba and the Sea Bus, it could be.

Even if the sign is just a telecommunications port – I think you would love Teleport Town! It fits this website down to the ground. It has a very strange, surreal and futuristic atmosphere, such as only the Japanese could produce. a really wonderfu place! Just run an image search on the term!

Oh, and no I don’t know why it is called that!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Philippe, I know exactly what you mean, but don't take this too seriously. We make enough fun of Americans already. ;)

Relish in the fact that you speak a beautiful and complex language which is difficult to learn.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am now desperate to stroll down the aisles of Suspicious Supermarket, whilst whistling and glancing either side shiftily.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome collection :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the robot milk is an actual product you can buy at the time travel mart in echo park
check it out here: http://344design.typepad.com/344_loves_you/2007/12/introducing-the.html

Blogger Mister X said...

Re: Center of the World

I've spent a few weeks in the Gateway motel. It used to be HORRIBLE, but wouldn't you know it, as soon as I moved out, they completely spiffed up the place and kicked the creeps out.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ americans here who got offended by the french comment:

Usually I'm anti us-government and all, as I'm french myself but I cannot stop laughing at the intense idiocy of my fellow (and humorless) citizen.

I guess there are rednecks in France too huh ;)

@ the guy who lost someone on omaha beach or whatever :
then stop supporting war, especially since "US go home" should be the most shared thought worlwide about your culture... :P

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous #2,

You’re calling our French friend Philippe smug and ill-educated; well, you’re not so humble yourself if you’re boasting about being on X South American countries to provide relief aid, being fluent in 3 languages (hey, I’m fluent in 4, so what?) and being one more American bringing up for the ONE HUNDRETH MILIONTH TIME the fact that Americans died in French beaches.
Get over it – it’s done and over with. The French people were incredibly brave during WW2, but most Americans (and note here I say most, not all) are still completely convinced the French surrendered to the enemy at the first sight of a gun. You have no idea what you’re saying. Do you think the Jews and the Gipsies and other minorities who died at the hands of the Nazis in Poland and Germany surrendered and let themselves die because they were cowards? So why would you think the same about the French?
The French resistance was invaluable to the war effort and so were the horribly ‘smug and cowardly’ families who helped, fed and housed American troops when they entered the territory.
American media pokes fun of the French people ALL the time, charge them ALL the time for WW2… and you wonder why they hate you. The fact that Americans make the inevitable joke about the French whenever there’s any mention of WW2 in a movie, tv show or other medium available has influenced the relationship between the two countries and the people born and raised in each of them. You will find almost no mention of American culture in France except that which it essential for tourism to work. Yes, they hate most of you and they have every right to. I would hate a whole people if all I heard them mention about MY people was that we were cowards and still had the nerve to be smug and ungrateful.
I was recently in France and not one person was rude to me. Not one person acted like they were superior, or were anything else but regular people responding to the way they were treated. Those who’re polite will be treated equally, and that will happen everywhere and with everyone, no mater their nationality.
Sadly, most American tourists in France leave a VERY poor image of the rest of their countrymen, wherever they go; maybe because they’re loud, smug (yes, smug) and unpleasant. ‘Oh we hate the French and we'll make fun of them whenever possible, but we’re going to Paris anyway because, well, it’s Paris! Who cares if it’s in France?’

I don’t agree with everything he said, but Philippe is right about one thing: Americans (again, most, not all) are the only ones who don’t try to speak French when they’re in France. Even British people try it, and they invented the freakin’ English language, so don’t use that as an excuse.

And please, don’t make a bad name for other Americans who’re not such idiots and respond so badly to criticism, especially when they don’t take in consideration the last 60 years in 'bullying' History.

On another note (and this is not for Anonymous #2), I liked the pictures, they made me laugh hard.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christ, I'm glad I'm not American or French.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fresh air, fresh cold water and an axe are the best cure for a hang over.

With the axe you chop wood of course, kind of everybody who's lived in the countryside in eastern Europe knows this.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh please, cut the crap with the "[Insert-own-nationality-here] are less condescending than you, stupid [insert-random-nationality-here]".

The point of this blog is not to make fun of other cultures, but to make fun of those small uneasiness (sp?) to adapt to another language/culture.

Philippe: like anyone in a French street will most likely understand "Teleport" as the compact version of "Telecommunications Port" rather than the Sci-Fi version of it.
For the record, I am French and I have NEVER seen such a use of the word either in French or in English.
Maybe because it no so used anymore to avoid confusion.
Please find your way back from the Fifties. :)

I didn't read all the bs about WWII, US tourists not learning a single word of french etc.
Because they usually do !
I've encountered quite a bunch of middle-aged and aged native english-speaking tourists being able to say "Bonjour", "Excusez-moi", "Merci", "Au revoir".
Like the same population of French tourists in Africa and North-Africa could do better in arab, wolof or whatever local language.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We started of with some funny signs and ended up with WW2 and bragging about "I can do this...blablabla" We are very thankfull for your great contribution to making this a better world!

OK...some people have a sense of humour and some obviously do not!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could speak French.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahahahaha! Thanks for a great collection of signs. I love them. I literally laughed out loud at the Very Suspicious Supermarket. I want to shop there!

Also brilliant (and I realize it is not a real sign) is "The Progress Bar" with the "loading" indicator. Hope someone really does it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "zebra to nowhere" is probably a test of the paint for the stripes to measure how they wear down or corrode.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i speak 480 languages

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow...what a comment list...

first..for the brawlers who want to fight it out on a comment list...put your stuff away...everyone can claim to have this that or the other, but to be honest it's really just "piss in the wind" and just like that, it'll probably blow back in your face...

to me...it just sounds like, "Hey Pot, I'm the Kettle, you're dirty" /edited for possible rascism connotation/

most of the responders to this page "got" the idea that it's fun sometimes to laugh at the "tongue in cheek" mistranslations that occur where ever that might be...god forbid it's in jerusalem and my fellow jews take offense because of a mistranslated and oft-maligned and more oft-"made fun of because it's funny" sign ends up on a random website, which, ironically is known for posting things of humor....

/end rant/

pardon the above...

go cubs >;D

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for posting this and all great articles, I laughed out with the sings and also reading all the comments.
I'm very happy to find out there´s a whole misterious, weird, complex, rich, hilarious and great world to live in.

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you Rayo - you summed up the whole idea of DRB!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bottom-right Japanese sign picture is a crying rabbit... The sign appears to be an ad for the GABA language school, which is probably trying to attract ex-customers of the failed NOVA language school. The pink usagi (Japanese for "rabbit") was the mascot/logo of NOVA.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: David Rix

Actually, Tokyo Teleport Station is the stop for the JR East Line (Japanese Rail Line that serves the Greater Tokyo Metorpolitan Region) for Odaiba ^^ You're absolutly correct. The city on Odaiba was supposed to be a great technological city of the future, but unfortunatly it became the subject of tax money during a mayoral election year and the city was never finished and fell by the wayside. It is a beautiful area and soon will be the home of the biggest fish market in the world when they finish construction. It is also where the biggest convention center in Japan is, as well as the largest indoor Toyota Dealership (at least as of 2006). I've been there many times, as I used to live in Japan, and I have to admit, Tokyo Teleport Station needs teleporters. It's a very large building with long concourse-like walks between areas and no moving sidewalks. Even so, it's come a long way from being a tiny island in Tokyo bay with cannons on it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Philippe Laurichesse,

mate your problem is by far more related to a worrying lack of any trace of some sense of humour than the appropriate use of any language, that you tried to project as inappropriate use of a small laugh (?).

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was expecting to find the most hilarious sign ever that I ever saw: the "Caution, men at work!" sign of Great Britain (ok, it might exist somewhere else, but I haven't been there!)
I'm a woman, and 4 years later I'm still laughing!!!

And, damn it, I spent 7 years in the UK and never took any picture of it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Brilliant collection

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The torture chamber sign was at an exhibit in San Diego, I never saw it this way until I read it on here. Funny... love this site

Blogger Erin Atherton said...

thank god for the hat instructions. seriously, i almost bought two as shoes.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd rather speak Italian. French is smug.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from Holland, and we get a lot of tourists from France and the USA.. and We speak YOUR languages better then you speak OURS.. ( if you nationalist blockheads try at all.. ) and you both have 1 solution if you meet a Dutchman who happens to NOT speak multiple languages : you speak your own, but half as slow and twice as loud ! to us, you're all nutters alike.. :-)


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