rob waller

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Water coolers, squirrels, cocks


Thanks to David Murphy for sending me this, from his local health clinic. He has a very nice blog, which I  discovered earlier this summer. Mostly on distance learning, it reconnected me to my first job, at the Open University.

I first met David when I visited Australia in around 1981. I think he was possibly at Deakin University, which enables me to mention one of those odd 'small world' experiences that happens from time to time.

They had launched a course on visual design and semiotics, and one example of a visual-verbal clash in their course materials was of the sign outside an English pub.

The pub was called The Squirrel, and this is the logo.

The small world experience was that the pub was our local in Ascot, Berkshire, where I grew up.

Of course it never occurred to me that the logo was a cock-up (ho ho). It was not at all strange as many Berkshire pubs were owned by the Courage brewery, and this is their logo.

Context and usage blinds us to obvious communication failures, and they happen all the time with more serious consequences than this (for example, water coolers disappear).

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