Communication is about clarity. The more muddled the message—the more confusion you’re bound to see on the reader’s face. When it comes to the signs you see in public, you normally expect all of them to be brief, precise, and informative. Alas! Nothing could be farther from the truth. Far from everyone’s a pro when it comes to writing and advertising skills, and the ‘Useless, Unsuccessful, and/or Unpopular Signage’ Facebook group is proof enough.

An online group bringing together nearly 191k members, the UUU Signage project has been around since November 2014. Since then, it has collected a vast archive of some of the very worst and funniest signs to be found on Planet Earth. We’re featuring a selection of the very best ones, so go on, have a scroll and a glance. Don’t forget to upvote the signs that made you laugh and made you more confused than you expected, and if you’re a fan, go ahead and join the UUU Signage group.

I had a friendly chat about the most important things when making a sign—any sign—with Lisa McLendon. She is the William Allen White Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications and the coordinator of the Bremner Editing Center at the University of Kansas. You'll find the insights she shared with Bored Panda below, dear Readers.

Remember… keep it simple—keep it short—keep it clear.

#1

I Didn't See A Cat Going Out But I Did Observe A Walrus Sashay Towards The Door

I Didn't See A Cat Going Out But I Did Observe A Walrus Sashay Towards The Door

Kori A Butler Report

Toea Muresan Iulia
Community Member
3 months ago

this is cute!

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#2

This Is The Kind Of Secret Doctors Don't Want You To Know

This Is The Kind Of Secret Doctors Don't Want You To Know

Samuel Maffit Report

Alexia
Community Member
3 months ago

Hahaaa, that was good. I have my hair dyed in shades of purple and turquoise, which is pretty eye-catching. I once went to a hospital to get some papers, and had to wait in line for access. Several people were staring at my cheerful hair. I was tempted to tell them "It's the covid vaccine, this is what happens if you get vaccinated." :))) I refrained, though. Some people are prone to believe anything... except science. (I'm fully vaccinated.)

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#3

I Honked

I Honked

Andrew Shanks Report

troufaki13
Community Member
3 months ago

HONK!!!

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Lisa, from the University of Kansas, highlighted to Bored Panda that when it comes to making signs, clarity and brevity are essential. This is because you don't have much time to get your point across and you need to be quick and sharp with your messaging.

"Clarity and brevity are essential. You only have a second or two to get your message across, so you want people to understand quickly with zero confusion," she told Bored Panda.

#4

On The Community Noticeboard At My Local Shops

On The Community Noticeboard At My Local Shops

Sarah Strahan Report

Dwight k schrute.
Community Member
3 months ago

*Takes a "I have now" *

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#5

An Employee Caught Me Taking This Pic And Said “Ah Yes, Another One Of Our Many Exciting Deals!”

An Employee Caught Me Taking This Pic And Said “Ah Yes, Another One Of Our Many Exciting Deals!”

Lauren Carrigan Report

troufaki13
Community Member
3 months ago

Hurry before the offer ends!

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#6

Make Good Choices

Make Good Choices

Kate Anderson Report

HardTruths
Community Member
3 months ago

What if I want to leave it to chance? Halfway? 🤣

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I was also interested to get Lisa's opinion about the types of egregious mistakes that the people putting up various signs should avoid.

"Don’t carve an error in stone. It’s embarrassing and expensive to fix. Proofreading before you produce, whether it’s stone or not, is absolutely necessary," she said that we should take the time to look over our work before making any permanent decisions. Proofreading is far cheaper than fixing a mistake later on.

Lisa also noted that the font that we choose for our sign is incredibly important. "Choose your font with readability in mind. It should be clear and readable at a distance; you don’t want to make people puzzle through a swirly script," she said.

#7

Lmao You Go Girl

Lmao You Go Girl

Ashley Rosado Report

Toea Muresan Iulia
Community Member
3 months ago

ha? not getting it.

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#8

Yeahhhhh Right

Yeahhhhh Right

Stephanie Croshaw Report

Serial pacifist
Community Member
3 months ago

Me thinks this is intentional sarcasm.

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#9

Someone Had Enough

Someone Had Enough

Samantha Tame Report

CatWoman312
Community Member
3 months ago

So chopsticks is okay

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The UUU Signage page is part of the wider ‘Useless, Unsuccessful, and/or Unpopular’ community that encompasses a variety of different niches, from ads and screenshots to memes.

The group’s admins and mods note that they’re only interested in photos that people have taken themselves. So, for instance, screenshots have no place here (in fact, there’s an entirely separate UUU group for them specifically). Original content and exploration are encouraged. All for the sake of documenting signage that should have us laughing all the way till the weekend.

#10

I’ve Been Called Many Things In Life. But This Is A First

I’ve Been Called Many Things In Life. But This Is A First

Cailey Bisgould Report

the child
Community Member
3 months ago

that's enough identity crises for one day

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#11

I've Never Seen A Bumper Sticker I Wanted More

I've Never Seen A Bumper Sticker I Wanted More

Melissa Anne Report

Pearl
Community Member
3 months ago

Me too, buddy. Me too.

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#12

Well That Escalated Quickly

Well That Escalated Quickly

Chyleigh Harmon Report

May
Community Member
3 months ago

Well clearly if God exists he's an absolute d**k, can't help you with the engine thing - something about combustion?

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It’s easy to sit back and chuckle at some of the silly (and sometimes downright mental) mistakes some sign-makers have made. However, we’ve all been in situations where we’ve made similar mistakes, for everyone to see and gently poke fun at.

Perhaps we didn’t edit our text enough (or at all…) because we were exhausted. Maybe our proofreading skills weren’t up to scratch anymore (thanks a bunch, Fifth Cup of Coffee). Or maybe, just maybe, all those silly mistakes snuck into our sentences the moment our backs were turned.

Frankly, I like this last theory the most, even if it’s the least likely. It suggests that there’s a Greater Force at work here, sprinkling chaos into our otherwise orderly word structures.

#13

When You've Had Enough Of Your Man

When You've Had Enough Of Your Man

Kelly Sedlak Report

Serial pacifist
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

Hey, the sign is very informative and direct. I would like to sell a neighbor who plays loud music all day long and smokes weed. He is a bit banged up and rusty, but not too shabby.

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#14

I Have A Bad Feeling About This Rest Stop Bathroom

I Have A Bad Feeling About This Rest Stop Bathroom

Anna Hicks Report

NsG
Community Member
3 months ago

The S is upside down as well and it's bothering me

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#15

The Mechanic Left This In My Girlfriend's Car After Being Serviced... The Car Is Still Dirty

The Mechanic Left This In My Girlfriend's Car After Being Serviced... The Car Is Still Dirty

Michael Dylan Faas Report

boredpanDaman
Community Member
3 months ago

im liking that mechanic... please, do clean your car. and the space around you. and your own self...

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A while ago, I had another chat about editing, proofreading, and kerning (it’s the spacing between letters, Pandas) via email with Lisa from the University of Kansas. 

"Word placement, typeface, and kerning are crucial for effective, professional-looking logos and layouts. If it’s just a few words, all-caps is fine, but it’s harder for people to read longer blocks of text in all caps. It’s also harder for people to read italic or highly stylized type, or type along a curve instead of a line,” Lisa explained to Bored Panda.

#16

Found Some Paperless Towels At Walmart Today. What Will They Think Of Next?

Found Some Paperless Towels At Walmart Today. What Will They Think Of Next?

Hansen Murphy Report

Rose the Cook
Community Member
3 months ago

Wow, great new invention.

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#17

Please Don’t Follow Anybody Home

Please Don’t Follow Anybody Home

Shravan Sunil Report

Brian Bennett
Community Member
3 months ago

In depth instruction for perversion!

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#18

This Was A Couple Years Ago...and I Know What They Meant But... Still

This Was A Couple Years Ago...and I Know What They Meant But... Still

Dave Brideau Report

May
Community Member
3 months ago

At least they're honest about it, unlike some other denominations

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What’s more, Lisa noted that we should look at all the ways in which our words could be misread or read out of order if they’re circled or stacked on top of one another. Meanwhile, if the kerning happens to be too tight, some of the letters could merge into different symbols and result in some (hilariously) embarrassing misreadings.

One example of this is writing the word ‘FLICKERING’ in all caps. If the kerning is too tight, the ‘L’ and the ‘I’ merge into a ‘U’ and… well, it’s fairly obvious what happens, isn’t it?

#19

Just Press Three 333 Times

Just Press Three 333 Times

Nigel Champion Report

Hugh Willie Mungous
Community Member
3 months ago

That's BT for you!

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#20

I Don’t Even Know

I Don’t Even Know

David Bjorklund Report

Chris Wade
Community Member
3 months ago

lmao I don't even get the joke or who that man is but it's so stupid it cracked me up hahaha

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#21

Oh No

Oh No

Vivian Minus Report

May
Community Member
3 months ago

At least they're also self aware

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Lisa suggests running a spell-check to catch any typos. It’s a very obvious step, but not everyone does it. However, the tool isn’t omnipotent. “Spell-check won’t catch typos that result in a word that is still a word, just not the word you want,” she warned that you should still get someone else to proofread the text.

#22

Pfantastic Signage

Pfantastic Signage

Aaron Schiff Report

boredpanDaman
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

pfabulous

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#23

Um... I Guess?

Um... I Guess?

Caleb Hilston Report

Shazz Winchester
Community Member
3 months ago

That's a bit mean! But they're not wrong

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#24

Whatever Gets Them In Therapy I Guess?

Whatever Gets Them In Therapy I Guess?

Robin Caligiure Report

sofacushionfort
Community Member
3 months ago

I briefly mistook “hippies” for “nipples”

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#25

Is This The New Saying Now?? Mandela Effect?

Is This The New Saying Now?? Mandela Effect?

Taylor Mcclelland Report

Brian Bennett
Community Member
3 months ago

Buckle up Butter cup does this sound familiar?

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#26

Do Not Teach Fish Man He Will Destroy Us All

Do Not Teach Fish Man He Will Destroy Us All

Hunter Kinder Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
3 months ago

Give to fish, he life, take to man to day!

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#27

"We Gave It A Second Thought And Decided That You Guys Suck"

"We Gave It A Second Thought And Decided That You Guys Suck"

Rachel Mower Report

beastmachine.
Community Member
3 months ago

Ohhhhhkkkkkkk...

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#28

Spotted At A Local Dollar Tree A Few Years Ago

Spotted At A Local Dollar Tree A Few Years Ago

Kerri Kay Report

Brian Bennett
Community Member
3 months ago

But we shall leave them exposed and put a danger sign on them?

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#29

This Was In Front Of My Town Hall For A Couple Weeks Before Anyone Realized And It’s My Favorite Thing To Ever Happen Here

This Was In Front Of My Town Hall For A Couple Weeks Before Anyone Realized And It’s My Favorite Thing To Ever Happen Here

Ariel Sullivan Report

Brian Bennett
Community Member
3 months ago

I don't know where you live but our summer is shitty!

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#30

No Thanks

No Thanks

Kerri Saterfield Report

Julie C Rose
Community Member
3 months ago

Is it at the entrance to a red state?

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#31

Pennsylvania Department Of Transportation Trying To Be Relatable

Pennsylvania Department Of Transportation Trying To Be Relatable

Evan Waite Report

the child
Community Member
3 months ago

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is down with the kids

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#32

Typical Capitalism. Manufactured Scarcity

Typical Capitalism. Manufactured Scarcity

Miles Izzo Report

Trillian
Community Member
3 months ago

Social distancing for insects also

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#33

Are You Speaking From Experience, Sir?

Are You Speaking From Experience, Sir?

Vera Bruursema Report

Brian Bennett
Community Member
3 months ago

And what has it done to your brain my ball less man!

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#34

We Don’t Pay A Living Wage, But Work Is Work Right. This Is A Circle K By The Way

We Don’t Pay A Living Wage, But Work Is Work Right. This Is A Circle K By The Way

Kevin Laviolette Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
3 months ago

Maybe try to find tall staff and then pay them a living wage you twits.

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#35

Baa Baa Black.. Clam?

Baa Baa Black.. Clam?

Howard Davies Report

Rose the Cook
Community Member
3 months ago

Cute cakes.

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#36

This Has Big "I Think Dogs Should Vote" Vibes

This Has Big "I Think Dogs Should Vote" Vibes

Jessica Kracoff Report

Ms.M.
Community Member
3 months ago

OMG, so does mine! YAYYY!!!

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#37

No Touching Vaggies

No Touching Vaggies

Catherine Robertson Report

Phoebe Carter
Community Member
3 months ago

"Working togeher" and "stay carlm"... who wrote this?

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#38

When You Want To Insult The Customer But Have To Be Politically Correct

When You Want To Insult The Customer But Have To Be Politically Correct

Nicole Eckstrom Report

Eric Law
Community Member
3 months ago

You're welcome. Turnip.

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#39

Okay

Okay

Kate McKay Report

Eric Law
Community Member
3 months ago

No can do - it looks like that bench is all out of people.

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#40

Fish And Chizz??

Fish And Chizz??

Sam Doble Report

Moannnaaaa
Community Member
3 months ago

I guess it's supposed to be fizz, right?

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