The Uniqueness of Icelandic Road Signage
T. Porathe, ed., Applications of information design 2008: selected papers from the international conference at Mälardalen University in Eskilstuna, Sweden 25-28 June 2008 (Eskilstuna: Mälardalen University Press, 2009), pp. 138-152.
15 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2015
Date Written: 2008
This illustrated article introduces the unique aspects of Icelandic road signage, and traces the history of the Icelandic system. Iceland’s low population density makes road navigation important and highway signage prominent. Though based on Danish and international models, Iceland’s road signage has several unusual features. These include separate color schemes for urban and rural areas, standardized windspeed indicator signs, large map signs showing the location of all farms off a given side-road, and an indigenously developed way of showing whether a farm is inhabited or abandoned. Road signs emerged later in Iceland than in many other European countries, and the development of the system has largely taken place only since World War II. Nevertheless, the standard design has been changed several times. The article also briefly mentions the rapid changes in public transportation signage in Iceland in the past few years, and reviews the unusual nature of Icelandic wayfinding conventions.
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