People have even set up fun facebook pages about the subject.
One day I walked into Starbucks at Triton Square, Euston, London and it took me four attempts to get into the coffee shop.
One of the double glass doors was locked and the other door was a pull instead of a push.
I thought "Why is there not global symbols for pushing and pulling doors?".
London is an international city and yet the words PUSH and PULL can confuse even those who know the language!
An example in New York where the signs say PUSH and PULL.
People either don't notice the signs or aren't able to follow "word only" style signs.
I spoke to a researcher who ran a project on push and pull signage.
He said he witnessed door accidents including one man breaking his nose after assuming the door was a "PUSH".
After market testing it became clear that a hand in the construction industry
"ACCESS NOT PERMITTED"
"DO NOT PROCEED"
Unfortunately not many other people had the same view.
Market testing showed people could not understand the 3D designs! (FAIL!)
One man was so confused he even took the 3D picture and put it on its side to figure it out.
The conclusion was that two dimensional pictograms seem to be much better for signage.
The idea was to convey the energy of pushing and pulling.
I made some rough drawings of a 2D figure pushing and pulling.
From there the physiology needed to look similar to that of
"pushing a vehicle"
"pulling as if in a tug of war".
The next stage was to see if a push figure could be added
"arrows and doors" picture.
Coming up with further ideas of pushing and pulling we tried to integrate the figures with the arrows and doors design but realised there were too many elements, making it cluttered and difficult to understand.
Almost unconciously, I drew curves with a biro over the door frame of the printed photos.
During an appointment to see a patent agent, Harry Lamb, of Marks and Clerk in London, I showed him the push and pull photos.
He said "Mmm Bowed Doors!".
That was the first time the term "bowed doors" was used in relation to what we were trying to achieve.
His reaction indicated that this idea could work.
Taking the Push Sign Pictogram out of the arrows and doors picture above
and then adding a "bowed door" made the picture simpler
and easier to understand.
Having "Less to look at" had a beneficial effect on understanding the picture.
John created a number of digital designs based on my collages.
Although the idea was developing, the feedback from one critic was that one of the characters looked as if he was trying to climb a wall!
Trying an alternative design ended up with the design of black, yellow, black striped and bowed doors.
By joining John Szwenk's digital characters with the digital versions of the yellow and black striped and bowed doors, the characters were beginning to take shape.
For for the pull pictograms there was an image with a small "door knob" type handle and another with a "rectangular bar" type handle.
It was decided to choose only the image with the "bar type handle" as it made the pulling pictogram even clearer.
Chatting about it we agreed that the larger tummy made the images look more friendly.
The arc of the doors was too long.
They were cut down at each end.
Also the pull image had the feet in line with each other.
Jean mentioned moving the foot up on about three different occasions before the penny dropped.
By raising the front foot the image looked better and more like someone planting feet firmly on the ground.
The final versions of the two pictograms were completed in February 2011.
This was handled by patent agent Bob Gadsden of Gadsden IP, Thatcham.
The designs were given the priority date of 21st Febrary 2011.
The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) issued numbers
001823618-001/002 for the Design Registration Certificates.
As the time was within the 6 months from the original OHIM registrations, the original priority date of 21st February could be used.
A USA Design Patent appears to be more rigorous than an OHIM registration in that any related prior art is searched for and noted.
The Patent Certificate came through in early 2012.
USA Design Patent numbers D654956 and D654957 were allocated to the push and pull signs.
It made sense as the Fire Exit signs were referred to as running man that these symbols should be called the equivalent
"Push and Pull Man".
The UK Intellectual Property Office allocated number 2596549 to the "PUSH & PULL MAN" Trademark.
The copyright symbol is quite respected. One printer refused to do any printing unless copyright ownership was proven.
The only way ownership could be proved was by showing the OHIM European Design Registration certificates.
The intention was to create a simple website that was clean looking and easy to navigate.
The initial blue background design with the buttons set out at the bottom was put together. John created some .jpegs.
David Curran who had been developing commercial websites for customers for some years created a working site using the latest standards.
As the framework was then in place, most of the additional modifications were straighforward using just a text editor.
For the website name the idea was to have the spaces in the website name when shown on printed signs or elsewhere because the spacing made it easier to read.
Putting the "push pull signs.com" with spaces into Google in either the top bar or the search bar brings up the website first in the listing.
The site was set to combine PUSH and PULL with the above words
to allow people to find the site using different combinations of these search terms.
It seems that the images take longer to rise higher up the listings than the website pages when it comes to html code and image name changes.
It is a funny subject in that people seem to really get into the idea of using pictures for pushing and pulling doors.
The Slough Observer photographer told me about how his aunt had broken her hand after struggling with a door pushing/pulling the wrong way.
"Pictorial Push Pull Signs for Doors"
The Wikipedia text needed to be as brief as possible allowing the pictures to do the work.
As there was already a write-up from the Slough Observer reporters, there was a newspaper editorial source.
An editorial from Sign Update magazine was another good external reference.
There was a university research study on pushing and pulling doors based in Canada in 1994 and this was sited as an acedemic reference.
With the symbols on their own a teacher tested the signs on a group of school children and verified that they were understandable as push and pull without prior training.
A conversation with a research Psychologist in Canada, who wrote the paper on push and pull signs back in 1994, revealed some interesting information.
He ran a project using doors which were able to
SWING BOTH WAYS
He then added different types of push and pull signs to the doors
and noted how people reacted to the signs.
His results and conclusions were that the combination of "PICTURES + WORDS" make the most effective signs
A decision was taken to add the words push and pull.
Changing around the design it looked better and more understandable
with the words "offset" to the left and the right.
For the Push Sign, taking an imaginery line down through the head and the trunk, the line would go through the head, trunk and through the eye of the "P" down on the left side.
For the Pull Sign the imaginery line would
go through the head and trunk with the "P" printed down to the right side.
This enquiry had come via the pushpullsigns.com website.
To market to potential new customers, a mailshot was posted out and a number of schools around the country ordered signs for their glass doors.
Schools have to teach "push and pull" for key stage one and having these signs also makes the doors safer.
It had a number of advantages in that customers are familiar and confident about buying through Amazon.
This was a Geography project from the USA
Can you spot the PUSH and PULL signs?
You could say these sites are ignoring the various intellectual property rights in place.
However they are not taking printed sign or licencing business and not attempting to sell the signs commercially.
The contributors to these site are effectively agreeing that there is support for "human like" push and pull pictograms.
This is from a blog about a conversation with a customer about how to push a door.
Mixing up push and pull seems to be a subject much commented on the internet.
Someone combined the wording of a sign from years before and used the pictograms coming up with a popular version of the sign.
The photos of the sign have appeared on over 100 fun image websites to date.
We've recently created a T-Shirt based on the wording and made it available on Amazon.
The majority of the searches seem to be from Spanish speaking countries with visitors from French speaking
countries also making frequent visits.
There are also visits from German, Italian and Russian language speaking countries.