Commons:WikiProject Signs

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Signage helps people make decisions

Welcome to the WikiProject Signage on the Wikimedia Commons! We are a group of people dedicated to the creation, categorization and distribution of free images, videos, and other media related to all types of signs, banners, billboards, markings, inscriptions, and all other types of visual data representation collectively known as signage.




Maintenance categories[edit]


How to[edit]

  1. Open deep subnational plaque category (Plaques in Poznań)
  2. Move non-plaques to a different category using Cat-a-lot
  3. Move all visible plaques to <LANG>-language plaques in <COUNTRY>
  4. Open gallery slideshow and go though each image; adjust the language of those that don't match the rest (because they are bilingual or in another language)


In English, the lexeme "sign" has many related and overlapping meanings. Per Wikidata, in decreasing order of abstractness:

  • sign (Q262246) – "concept in semiotics or linguistics"
  • sign (Q3695082) – "semiotic concept; object, quality, event, or entity whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else; includes words, punctuation, expressions, gestures, notices, road signs, symbols, pictures, etc."
    • sign – physical instance of Q3695082, regardless of purpose, material, or message.
Properties (grouped by type) of signs (aka physical instances of Q3695082)
This structure repeats recursively for every "theme" - See themes below.
Property type Property Example cat.

Replace "signs" with "theme name"

Visual color Red signs All visible signs have this property.
shape Square signs
Physical condition Damaged signs Only physical signs have this property.

Diagrams have no material and therefore no condition.

material Metal signs
Temporal year 2014 signs Can be the date the sign was installed, a date referenced on the sign, or the date the picture of the sign was taken.
Linguistic language Polish-language signs Signs often have inscriptions, and inscriptions are often linguistic.
  • Language-neutral means "linguistic, but in no particular languge" or "devoid of language-specific inscriptions"
  • Unidentified-language means that the inscription appears linguistic, but the language has not been determined (yet);

A language always implies at least one writing system (in pictures, that is).

writing system Hiragana signs
Inscription Stop signs by inscription – СТОП
  • Signs with a simple inscription (such as "STOP") are categorized by inscription, which in turn is categorized by language(s)
  • Just as different languages can share writing systems, they can share inscriptions ("СТОП" can be Belarusian, Russian, or Ukrainian).
Spatial location Signs in Switzerland Only physical signs can have this property. Only signs in an unusual position are categorized.

Diagrams have no material and therefore no location.

position Leaning signs
Identificatory name Zeichen 267 As "legal objects", some regulatory signs have an officialized name.
Purposive function Prohibition signs All signs have a purpose/function. Signs with an unobvious or undetermined purpose/function can be considered art.
Other style ? TBD
object ? TBD
type ? TBD

* Note: Diagrams of signs have no spatial properties, because they are virtual entities in and out of themselves — as opposed to photographs, which are virtual representations of real-life physical objects that do have spatial properties.

      • traffic sign (Q170285) – "plate with instructions (warning, prohibitory, mandatory, ...) used to control traffic on the road"
  • banners, billboards, murals, to smaller street signs, street name signs, sandwich boards and lawn

Types of signs[edit]

  • Inscriptions are instances...of text
  • Road signs
    • Street signs
  • Fingerposts (sometimes referred to as a guide post) – posts with one or more arms — known as fingers — pointing in the direction of travel to named places on the fingers. Sometimes, fingerposts will also show the distance to the location. They can be found as road, bye-way and footpath signs, and as directional signs in parks and gardens
  • Monuments and memorials – an object of any kind defined primarily by the commemorative or dedicational intent behind its creation.
    • Gravestones
    • Statues – statues themselves rarely feature inscriptions, but their pedestal sometimes do
      • Pedestals – the supporting part of a statue or a vase, and of a column in architecture. They sometimes feature inscriptions.
    • Plaques – commemorative objects categorized under monuments and memorials that are not graves.
      • Stolpersteine – a subtype of plaques. Ground-based by definition and square by custom.

Special cases of multilingual signs[edit]

Relation to inscriptions[edit]

Most signs feature inscriptions, and most inscriptions convey linguistic information. Notable exceptions include pictograms (which are inscribed but extralinguistic), and language-neutral inscriptions (which are linguistic, but not language-specific).

Conversely, inscriptions are often signs. For the purpose of categorization on Commons, texts contained in books are not a subset of signs.