Thursday, October 26, 2006

Just perfect

I'm just back from a few wet-but-enjoyable days in Devon, and I thought I'd share one of my holiday snaps with you. Because, in its unpretentious way, the sign you see here is a perfect piece of persuasive writing.

By which I mean there's not a single word we could change or add that would increase the effectiveness of the communication, however hard we might try:

Caution, wet paint!

Wet paint - DO NOT TOUCH!


Beware: wet paint. Possibility of damage to clothing.

Passers-by are strongly advised to avoid inadvertent contact with wet paintwork in the immediate vicinity of this notice.

See? And there's another more specific way in which this sign demonstrates the principles of good persuasive writing. It doesn't tell us what to do or think. Instead, it provides us with a piece of valuable information, and leaves us to supply the appropriate response.

Oh yes, and thanks for pointing out that reading this blog is now, indisputably, as interesting as watching paint dry.