How could anyone forget the City of San Diego’s 2014 People’s Choice Onion for the over-sized parking signs. They are hard to miss… Think that’s bad, check out this 15′ tall “totem” sign pole from Los Angeles with parking regulation stacked on top of parking regulation. Crazy right?! See more here.

onion signculvercityparkingsign

Well, it seems that Los Angeles has taken on the design challenge that these signs with numerous parking regulations present. As reported in Citylab by The Atlantic, they have unveiled new “easy to read” parking signs, that surprisingly are actually quite easy to read with their “grid-style” graphic with simple color coding and graphic representations instead of words. Nice work LA!


San Diego’s very own bright design minds reached out to SDAF to take on the challenge of our Onion-winning signs. John Ball, Creative Director of MiresBall sent us this email:

Onion, or opportunity?

At the recent San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchids and Onions, a People’s
Choice Onion was “awarded” to the City of San Diego for its Oversize Vehicle
Ordinance Signs.

Unintentionally ironic, the extra-large 30″ by 36″ signs are meant to prohibit extra-large
vehicles from parking on city streets. And not only are they too big, they’re just plain
ugly—adding to the visual pollution of the street even as they attempt to limit it.
But does it have to be this way? City signs have to be legible, yes, but do they need to
be eyesores? And can the application of some of our favorite design principles create a
smaller, cleaner sign that is arguably MORE readable?
Happily, the answer is yes. Check out our design redo.


John Ball
Partner/Creative Director
P.S. City of San Diego, you can reach us at 619-234-6631.

Much improved. Thank you John. Take note City of San Diego. Good design can transform the status quo and be infinitely more practical too…

Shall we launch a guerrilla campaign to replace them? Who’s in?