AT FIRST, WE thought this sign at Dupont Circle was meant to direct us to the zoo, or maybe the Audubon Society. But in case you too may not be familiar with it, this is is not an urban Rorschach test; you are looking at the official logo and direction sign for the D.C. Convention Center. Now, we're all for clever graphics instead of words, but there is not enough to this to meet the eye.
Its designers meant well, surely, in steering clear of long, baffling directions; and they do offer travelers some help at entry points to the city, where signs advise motorists to follow this sign to the convention center. But miss those, or start from inside the city's borders, and it's guesswork on the fly.
We're not suggesting another confusing -- and dangerous -- traffic sign filled with complex do's, don'ts and conditions thereon. If the city's busiest intersections get any more signs and countersigns, each one will need a new poster just for a table of contents. Convention center officials recognized this word pollution problem when they designed their eagle logo, which they are promoting in all correspondence; in time, they say, people will know what the eagle means.
Still, how about two words -- Convention Center -- somewhere below the beak, as a little assist for tenderfoot tourists and unbriefed Eagle Scouts?