Tag Archives: Fire extinguisher

How to attract attention of pedestrians?

How could we make passing pedestrians stop and look at something? One solution is to apply technology. For instance, tactile pavings or tactile ground surface indicators tell them when to cross roads.

Another solution is to apply design. While I stayed in Curitiba, Brazil, fire extinguishers always attract my attention successfully. This is because they are located inside red-yellow squares painted on the ground.

Interestingly, the same rule applies when fire extinguishers are above the ground. Red-yellow squares are painted on the ground when fire extinguishers are hung on the wall.

Design beats technology in Curitiba. 🙂

Labrecque, L. I., & Milne, G. R. (2012). Exciting red and competent blue: the importance of color in marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science40(5), 711-727.

From beverages to consumer electronics, marketers are using color in innovative ways. Despite this, little academic research has investigated the role that color plays in marketing. This paper examines how color affects consumer perceptions through a series of four studies. The authors provide a framework and empirical evidence that draws on research in aesthetics, color psychology, and associative learning to map hues onto brand personality dimensions (Study 1), as well as examine the roles of saturation and value for amplifying brand personality traits (Study 2). The authors also demonstrate how marketers can strategically use color to alter brand personality and purchase intent (Study 3), and how color influences the likability and familiarity of a brand (Study 4). The results underscore the importance of recognizing the impact of color in forming consumer brand perceptions.

How could we design a better fire extinguisher?


Since we spend most of our time in buildings, we are literally surrounded by fire extinguishers. It consists of a hand-held cylindrical pressure vessel containing an agent which can be discharged to extinguish a fire (Wikipedia). In general, we do not pay attention to them until needed. For me, I have never used any fire extinguisher in my life and have no interest in it. Interestingly, designers have noticed their problems and came up with two fairly different but equally interesting solutions.

Typical fire extinguishers have two critical problems. First, they are often ignored and difficult to be located. Even though they are red colored, fire extinguishers merely stand still and fail to grab our attention. Further, they do not go well with walls or interiors.

Recently, I found a series of eye-catching fire extinguishers at a store. In order to solve the first problem, some designers changed the appearance of the fire extinguishers. They painted skins to make them visually appealing and to make them go well with the walls. Some of the newly painted fire extinguishers look so nice that I even wanted to buy them for home decor.

DML_Fire distinguisher

The second problem is that typical fire extinguishers are difficult to use in emergency situations. Therefore, instruction manuals are prepared. A practice session runs for those who want to try to use them in advance.

Recently, I found another, newly designed fire extinguishers in a building. Designers changed the size and the container material so that the shape “says” how to use. Now, we do not have to spend time on learning how to use them; instead, we can simply  pick up one or a few water-bottle shaped fire extinguishers and throw them on a fire.

These two fire extinguishers teach me what designers do for us. Designers change the appearance of a product; alternatively, they change the way we use it.