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November 1, 2004 12:01 AM

Broken: Copenhagen hotel sign

Roomsign_1John writes:

Here's a picture from The Square hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark.  I was staying in room 319.  Which way?


Go right. ;)

Posted by: Jacques Troux at November 1, 2004 01:04 AM


Posted by: Right at November 1, 2004 01:49 AM

Right, and here's my hypothesis.

The sign should say

LEFT Odd numbers 301-305 and even 302-322.

RIGHT Odd numbers 307-345 and even 324-356.

They should renumber the rooms.

Posted by: argflast at November 1, 2004 02:29 AM

So which was it?

Posted by: Alex Barnett at November 1, 2004 05:10 AM

It was left (the right arrow on this sign). Argflast I believe your hypothesis is correct.

Posted by: john at November 1, 2004 10:59 AM

319 is in the range that goes from 307 to 345. So, if you were facing the sign, you should go to the right. I don't think there's anything broken with this sign. Actually, I think it is very clear.

Posted by: SAM at November 1, 2004 12:17 PM

SAM: why not to the left? 319 is also in the range that goes from 307-345.

Posted by: DaveC426913 at November 1, 2004 12:37 PM

Sam, the issue is not which arrow does which range correspond to (although that's not exceptionally clear either), it's that the ranges overlap!

Posted by: James at November 1, 2004 01:37 PM

DaveC: that's precisely what I said, that 319 is in the range from 307 to 345, and the arrow next to that range points to the right, then the guest in room 319 has to go to the right. Please read my original posting again.

James: Sorry but I can't see how ranges overlap, considering that it's obvious that there are 2 ranges for even numbers and 2 ranges for odd numbers. In the case off odd numbers, like 319, the first range includes rooms 301, 303 and 305. The second range goes from room 307 up to room 345, and room 319 belongs only to that range.

Posted by: SAM at November 1, 2004 03:26 PM

How is it obvious that one range is for even

numbers and one is for odd?

You can deduce this with some thought, yes.

It is not clear at a glance however. The

vast majority of the time, when someone is

given a range X-Y, it means all numbers

between X and Y, not every other number

between X and Y, not every third number

between X and Y.

Also, you must read the entire before noticing

the overlapping ranges and determining that

they divided by evens and odds. What if you

glanced at the sign and read only one of the


You don't think this sign could be clearer?

You think it couldn't be improved?

Posted by: James at November 1, 2004 04:06 PM

I have to echo what James said. It's not even 100% clear which arrow goes with which group of numbers. Horrible sign.

Posted by: at November 1, 2004 04:18 PM

Could the sign be clearer? YES

Could I be thinner? YES

Could I be richer? YES

Was the sign obvious to me? YES

Posted by: SAM at November 1, 2004 05:23 PM

SAM, that's the kind of attitude that leads to broken design.

Posted by: Chris at November 1, 2004 05:33 PM

Also, how do you tell if you follow the arrow above or below the number you want, or beside the number you want?

Posted by: vista904 at November 1, 2004 06:33 PM

Well, I guess you can assume that most western written languages are read top-down left-right.

Posted by: Maurs at November 1, 2004 06:49 PM

Yes i got confused twice upone reading this and even after thought theres numerous outcomes. u can read the sign in columns or rows, and take a quick glance and just be like oh i go left cause u read in a column and read the even number section overlapping your odd number section.

this sign is definatly broken and is no way "clear" to read.

as everyone is saying SAM that kind of thought leads to broken designs. not every person has the time to sit and decipher(spelling) poorly designed signs and there are ppl out there that seriously would not be able to figure that sign out for $20.

Posted by: Leigh at November 1, 2004 08:24 PM

SAM is asking the wrong question.

"Was the sign obvious to me? YES"

The sign needs to be obvious to the general populace.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at November 1, 2004 11:07 PM

You mean SAM asked a poor question.

Posted by: You mean SAM asked a poor question. at November 2, 2004 10:51 PM

Come on, please give me a break..... I already admitted that the sign could be clearer. But on second thoughts, it's not the sign but the room numbering scheme what is wrong. The sign was made and designed based on the actual numbering of the rooms. I don't see how the sign could be clearer given the current room numbering. As ARGFLAST suggested in an earlier posting, the rooms should be renumbered to make it easier to find yours. Then, and only then, the sign could be modified to make it clearer. So, I stand by my original opinion that this sign is NOT BROKEN.

Posted by: SAM at November 3, 2004 01:01 PM

Short of renumbering the rooms, its clear from the comments that the reason the sign is confusing is because there is no immediate way to know that the sign is referencing even numbered rooms and odd numbered rooms. An explicit statement to identify this would certainly help.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at November 3, 2004 03:08 PM

Yes, simply saying "301-305 (odd)" and "302-322 (even)" next to the numbers would help a lot.

I would prefer lot to have to solve logic puzzles to figure out how to get to my hotel room, most people take vacations to AVOID more work.

Posted by: Shadow at November 3, 2004 05:06 PM

I have to stand with SAM. It's not the sign that's broken, it's the way the rooms are numbered. As for those who want the addition of the words "odd" and "even," this would clutter the sign and generate other complaints. It also demonstrates the common lack of logical thinking. In fact, this sign would fit right into a quiz on logic. I'm not asking the world to become a bunch of Mr. Spocks but having every tiny detail and possibility spelled out on every sign would have you standing there a lot longer than James and others seem willing to do.

Posted by: Charlie at November 7, 2004 10:04 AM

301-305 could be replaced with 301, 303, 305.

That at least would take care of one problem with the sign. I disagree with the people saying that the numbering is broken and not the sign. I suspect that the rooms are numbered in what seems to be the western standard for most addresses -- even on one side of the street/hallway, odd on the other.

If they changed the rooms so that they were numbered in a wholly linear way, you'd have everybody ranting that it wasn't standard and therefore confusing.

I run into these signs ALL the time. Usually, I just take a righty-wallbanger approach until I finally find my room. It may not be efficient, but it seems more effective than trying to decipher the signs.

Posted by: Michael Dwyer at November 7, 2004 03:51 PM

SAM claims the sign is not broken, but he says that the solution is to go right.. If you read John's (The poster of this photo) post, he says he had to go LEFT to find his room. So obviously, it may be clear to SAM, but he drew the incorrect conclusion! He is CLEARLY WRONG and the sign is definitely BROKEN

Posted by: Bill McCormick at November 11, 2004 06:31 AM

OK, I didn't read John's post clearly enough, and I feel like a jackass. I still think the sign is broken though, it does not let you know what it's trying to say w/out a bit of deciphering. You should be able to get the message from the sign in a second, not a minute.

Posted by: Bill McCormick at November 11, 2004 06:34 AM

By Michael Dwyer's posting, which claims the room numbering is correct, based on the fact that odd numbers should be on one side of the corridor and even numbers on the other side, I can assume, then, that this hotel possibly has a very strange shape (footprint).

If Michael's assumption is correct, then, the corridor on the left has only 3 rooms on one side (301 to 305) and 11 rooms on the other side (302 to 322). And the corridor to the right has 20 rooms on one side (307 to 345) and 17 rooms on the other side (324 to 356).

The difference between the number of rooms on each side of the corridor to the left, while not impossible, seems quite unusual to me.

Posted by: SAM at November 11, 2004 02:58 PM

Whoa, that's weird, at first I didn't get it. Which way was it after all? Sorry if you said it somewhere up above - I'm just too lazy to read it all. Heh.

Posted by: Taco boy at November 12, 2004 10:05 PM

If you have a dozen people arguing about what a sign says, then the sign is broken. This much should be obvious.

Posted by: J. Scott at November 14, 2004 12:36 AM

It is a standard numbering scheme. Odds and evens are broken like this everywhere. Check out a stadium sometime.

The sign follows a National hotel scheme for numbering. If you goto one hotel ever, you'll know this.

So the sign follows its scheme, the scheme is understood, and the range is correct. THUS... The sign is not broken. You people just like arguing about stupid ANAL things.

Posted by: Steve Ryherd at November 28, 2004 12:31 AM

This sign would confuse my girlfriend to tears, which is sad. It's not that she's dumb, far from it -- it would just never occur to her to think of even/odd. She's not a numbers kinda person. It should say something about even/odd for non-numbers kinda people.

Posted by: sir_flexalot at December 14, 2004 12:35 PM

The odd side of the hall way probably faces a part of the hotel containing things like the lobby, kitchen bar , etc... and any rooms between them wouldn't have an outside window, and were thus skipped over.

Dumb people, non-number people, tired people comming from that hotel bar I hypothosized above... they all had to pay the same fair as Sam the troll..err I mean genius. Businesses don't normally care if you should be able to do something, or if your inability to do it represents a radical brain deformity or a character flaw. They just want your money and they want you to come back and they don't want to hire extra help because 25% of the customers need to be led to their rooms.

Since the price and complexity of operation of a computer means that every one on this site could at least possably end up at the front desk of this hotel and figure out how to open their wallet and pay for a room, and most of them are confused by this sign....this sign is friggn broken. I will admit that once you start down the hall the whole even odd thing might become a little more clear.

P.S. I suggest the rooms 307 - 345 be renumbered starting with 323, so that a new simple and much clearer sign could be made. This would keep the even odd rooms on the same side of the aisle, but put all the rooms 322 or less in one direction and 323 and up in the other direction. Or better still number all the rooms to the left in the 300's and to the right in the 400's, but that might mean renumbering some other hallway full of rooms somewhere.

Posted by: billc at December 14, 2004 07:06 PM

I see this in hotels ALL THE TIME. The "W" hotels are notorious for this.

Now, granted, the signs are a little tough to deciper as-is, but imagine you're jet lagged and have just been to a "cocktail" reception for 3 hours. Getting to your room requires some MAJOR concentration.

I don't know what drives people to number them this way, but just because a sign CAN be deciphered, that doesn't mean it's the best design. This is totally broken.

Posted by: danielsan at December 15, 2004 09:15 PM

So, do the arrows correspond to the set of numbers above and below them, or next to them?

Posted by: jon at December 25, 2004 11:19 PM

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha he he haha haha hehe heh aheha hea

Posted by: nevile at March 4, 2005 05:58 AM about you jsut walk around until you find ur room?

that could work ;)

Posted by: sunny at March 13, 2005 04:54 PM

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