A couple of months back, while completely bored out of my head and dealing with a set of itchy fingers, I decided to go on the Net and search for ‘do-it-yourself’ motorway (highway) signs that you could change the writing on to something of your choice. Not quite cute little kittens with balls of string, fair enough, but this was my inner trainspotter coming out to play…and nothing was stopping this old anorak!. Although I don’t and can’t drive myself, I’m often out and about in taxis, buses and the like, and often notice the road signs here in east London. For those of you based in the UK, you’ll know that we are crazy when it comes to filling our roads with signs of all sorts. We take safety…and not getting hopelessly lost….very seriously here.
In the throes of my internet research, I stumbled across a few sites where you could churn out personalised signs at your pleasure, although disappointingly for me as a Brit, most of these signs were more oriented to the US side of things, and I couldn’t find much of the personalisable signage like the endless diagrams that grace the pages of your average driving theory book/Highway Code. It weren’t an issue though, and I soon began creating some cool signs, which are featured below in their original format. It’s a nice bit of fun for when you have nothing better to do and procrastination rears its ugly head. Find your way out of boredom, and remember, the destination is a whole bunch of laughs for you and your friends. Scroll down at the next sentence (satnav voice)…..
Make your own Highway Sign
Reading this while trapped in a traffic jam? Tailbacks for the next 10 miles?….hopefully the first of our recommended sign generators will switch all your happiness traffic lights to get-going green. Retro website Atom Smasher has a special adaptable widget where you can alter the message on this LED sign attached to a bridge over a U.S. motorway. You have four lines of space to enter text into, which is then re-imagined in little yellow lights that are the bane of every motorist. Delays…roadworks….overturned lorry…ah who cares?…I’m running for prime minister and giving old Davey Boy a run for his expenses. Even if your ambitions are more humble than mine, you can write a four-line message of your choice. Perhaps even email one to your boss to say you’re stuck in traffic. Check she has a sense of humour first though. I cannot accept any responsibility for anyone getting their ass fired.
The website runs under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License or similar attribution based licence which means you won’t get a lawsuit slapped on you if you decide to reproduce the picture on your site or blog. You have to download the picture though, so no hotlinking. While I’ve used the highway sign generator, there are a few others on the homepage to choose from to soup up your own petrol station, error message, and even Chinese restaurant and corporate office signs. Go wild!
Road Traffic Signs
RTS is a website for DIY traffic signs using North American formats. Using the RTS custom traffic sign wizard, you can design your own traffic or warning signs with options for sign shapes, colours and sizes. Unlike the ‘Make a Highway Sign‘ featured above, this is an actual company that manufactures signs according to customers’ specs. They’ve been accredited by the US Better Business Bureau and were in the top 500 online commerce sites for the US and Canada in 2014. However you do not need to give any credit card details or buy anything in order to use the wizard.
I chose a warning sign with red striped border and lettering…and yes it is a warning….I can be a bit ‘unusual’ at times. Be warned haha!!. If you’re based in north America and want to make your virtual sign a reality as a cool thing to stick on a wall at home, you can order direct and securely after creating your sign with the wizard.
London Street Sign
Now for something from this side of the Pond. Web designer/developer Marijn Kampf runs a site called MyFunStudio.com, where you can create your own ironic London road name sign, just like those found in the touristy hotspots of the City of Westminster, Theatreland, and the like. The format for this sign has become as much of an icon representing London Town as our red buses, Beefeaters and the underground. Kampf’s site offers customisation using a choice of four popular fonts including the official ‘Streetsign‘ typeface used in the real deals ready to be teamed up with an overwhelming choice of colours. You can download the finished product as a standalone PDF or PNG file or go further and have your design transferred to all kinds of items from baby dummies and skateboards to leggings and doodle speakers. MyFunStudio also do a side range in Keep Calm posters and bored punters writing their names using elements from the periodic table. Very interesting and unique site, which is a good slice of the creativity my city is renowned for. These signs are highly recommended for blogs and sites on or operating from London as a way of showing some civic pride. North…South…East…..West London. The Half-Eaten Mind has got it covered!.
P.S. This website was originally used to create our new logo. Here I’ve gone somewhat narcissistic and named a major London throughfare after myself…well I’ve been in London virtually my entire life so surely naming rights are due. Anyone want to sign my Change.org petition?…Anyone?….*sad face*
While this is not strictly a road sign, it does give you an idea of how versatile the sign customisation technology found online can be. Image Chef, run by the company CyberLink, offers an option where you can take over a cinema’s backlit entrance sign for your own star-studded premiere. Declare your love for your favourite movie star, name-check some friends or beg some popcorn off the VIP guests, this silver screen’s all yours buddy.
The Half-Eaten Mind is the star of the red carpet round here, but you can add your own blog’s name for that special 9 pm blockbuster post.
In keeping with the theme of this article, Image Chef also offers road signs, including one template that allows you to add text to an image to an artsy montage of Swiss signage and a standalone sign in the Midwestern desert. Check out my interpretations below. From my blog office to my world, you’re in for an interesting journey. Don’t feed the scorpions.
This fun site offers several images beyond flat metal pavement furniture that you can doctor easily to your heart’s delight. All look realistic with no stray pixels or shoddy resolution in the final image. Very useful for blogs, forum signatures and the like.
Homer Simpson Sign Generator 2015
From signs in the real world to signs in the animated world. The next pitstop in this road trip of virtual signage takes us to Springfield, U.S.A and the home of Homer J. Simpson and his merry band of yellow-skinned townsfolk. When not irritating the hell out of Mr. Burns in his day job of safety inspector at the nuclear power plant, our favourite donut-muncher likes to roam and pose with rictus grin around the streets of Springfield, scrawling over road signs in much the same way as his son writes lines on the board in the opening credits of every episode of hit cartoon The Simpsons.
More “woo-hoo!” than “d’oh!”, the sign generator at images-graphics-pics.com lets fans of America’s favourite dysfunctional family add a message to one of Springfield’s famous, if bland, signs. Just enter some text, choose your typeface style and size and then push the button to change the sign. Just like El Barto, you can make your mark on one of the world’s favourite mythical animated small towns. Just don’t let Chief Wiggum catch you.
Good Fortune Cookie Generator
After our long journey you’re bound to be feeling a bit peckish. All that altering of road signs on the Information Superhighway certainly leaves a hole in the stomach. Why not head to your local Chinese takeaway for a slap-up meal of chicken chow mein and steaming dumplings? When the plates are cleared away and the bill’s paid, help yourself to a fortune cookie and find out what the future holds for you….
Well, for once, a fortune cookie that gives some decent advice. Want to create your own crunchy yet insightful snacks?. images-graphics-pics.com also offer a good fortune cookie generator, using the same principles as their Homer Simpson generator featured above. Simply choose a suitable font and colour and your message will be faithfully reproduced unscrolled on a platter of the finest produce this side of the Yangtze. Ideal for takeaway-loving couch potatos or for the Chinese New Year.
All these websites make great pictures for blogs and personal websites, and are perfect for emailing to work colleagues and friends for a bit of a laugh. Give one or two a try and see for yourself. Completely free of charge and very amusing to boot.
Thanks for reading this special Half-Eaten Mind presentation.