When looking for a public toilet, especially in a hotel, I always look at both icons before deciding which door to enter. Some are obvious, but I’m often unsure until I’ve been able to see, and compare, the two. Some can be downright mystifying: a notable example in Hong Kong is Felix, a poseur’s bar at the top of the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon, the work of pretentious New York designer Philippe Starck. The two doors are alongside, but the letters ‘m’ and ‘f’ are part of the design, so you won’t spot them at first. This seems to me to breach the fundamental rule in all communication: to ensure that the information you wish to convey is clear and clearly understood by the recipient. Form over function.
However, for signs that totally fail to convey the intended message, or that convey an entirely different message, I present a few from my immediate neighbourhood: