Rodney Martin send this example of emotionally intelligent signage from — of all places — the New York City subway. Instead of simply issuing an edict about block doors, the sign tries to explain the reason for the rule and maybe stir a few molecules of empathy.
I’m not convinced, this will be effective in the hothouse of underground New York. But as they say, if emotionally intelligent signage can make it here, it can make it anywhere.

7 Responses to “Emotionally intelligent subway signage”

  1. It probably would be even more effective if they could specify the # of trains held up last month because of people not letting the doors close. I remember reading that hotels providing very specific data about the % of guests reusing their towels and bed linens, the more additional people complied.

  2. I love your blog keep up the great work. I own a graphic design company called Rambert Graphic Development

  3. Eddie says:

    I have to send you a picture of the signs has in their subway cameras re: videocameras. It’s the best example of emotionally intelligent signage I’ve seen in a subway. The sign says “Videotape in progress, but don’t worry, you look great”…or something along the lines.

  4. Michael Gardner says:

    These signs may well be emotionally intelligent but perhaps not so socially intelligent. A number of studies indicate if you tell people that many others are doing something the rate of incidence increases. People feel their actions are socially validated. In the example listed above Jeffrey Cutaude) re-use of towels and linens increased when the message was changed to say that many guests are now choosing to re-use towels and save natural resources.

    I do enjoy your blog. Always something interesting if not provocative.

  5. Avatar photo Dan Pink says:

    @michael — Excellent point. It’s one I should be taking into account in assessing such signage. For everyone else, MIchael refers to some fascinating work done by Robert Cialdini about “social proof” and persuasion. You can see a short summary of the “towel study” here:

  6. Purple Kush says:

    Great information, I really enjoyed it!

  7. E. Wright says:

    This was a great blog with a message. I wish this concept could be applied to the Atlanta’s transit system (Marta). They could really use it.