Semiotic Standard Signage
The design of this website was heavily inspired by the Semiotic Standard (For All Commercial Trans-Stellar Utility Lifter And Heavy Element Transport Spacecraft) developed for the film Alien. The images used in the headers and navigation bar are based on artwork by Brandom Gamm, coloured on my own based on the palette found on Joe Blogs' website.
These signs, despite being completely made-up, are largely usable as caution signs. The ones relating to airlocks, bulkheads, and pressure suits strike me as being especially obvious.
What I find especially interesting is how some of the signs tell a story when you realize what the colours mean. For example, the radiation hazard sign shows a black stick figure lying down on a yellow field. Not obviously radiation (especially when one considers that we already have a well-known sign for radioactivity). However, knowing that yellow represents harmful processes (like radiation), and black indicates death the meaning becomes all too clear.
Were I to redesign these signs (which I may try someday) I would make a few changes. First off, making use of existing symbols (e.g. WHMIS, consumer hazard symbols) would seem a logical first step. While the Semiotic Standard symbol for radiation hazards is fun, it's perhaps less obvious than the existing trefoil symbol. Symbols such as the intercom could be made more obvious by using something like a telephone or radio, instead of the more abstract interlocking shapes used by the Standard.
Additionally, several signs are identical save for the colours of different regions. Existing hazard symbols are designed to be printable in black and white only. While not essential, making all symbols visually distinct when converted to monochrome seems like a good idea.
These signs are clearly intended for use on spacecraft which may not have gravity. This implies that the signs must be orientation agnostic; someone in zero-g may not view the signs oriented properly, as with no gravity the concept of "down" becomes nebulous. The creator of the Semiotic Standard has done a good job making the signs rotatable without losing their meaning. Any new/changed signs would need to keep this property.
Some new signs to use may be things like Pressurized, Refridgerated Areas with or without artificial gravity (based on the refridgeration symbol with a red standing/floating stick figure as needed), signs for other emergency equipment (e.g. portable intercoms/radios, flashlights, hull repair/patching kits), and the like.
Overall, I quite like the signs. The Semioic Standard is one of those hidden gems of film design. It's that background material that helps flesh out the setting, and shows that someone gave some serious thought to hypothetical problems.
The actual colour palette used consists of exactly seven colours, described by the creator of the standard as follows:
|Black (#000000)||Vacuum, death, hazard|
|White (#ffffff)||Life-supporting condition, pressure, temperature|
|Grey (#7b7b7b)||Same as white|
|Red (#ae0001)||Viable, sound, alive, alertness|
|Yellow (#f7a400)||Harmful, active process (e.g. molecular, nuclear, chemical)|
|Blue (#1a397c)||Lowered thermal condition|
|Green (#11532f)||Non-human biological substance or process, foodstuffs|
(Note: these colours are approximate, based on screenshots from the film. They're the colours I use on this site, but they're not necessarily the exact, canonical tones.)
These images are my own personal contributions to the Standard. They are in no way canonical, but try to emulate the style as much as possible.