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May 14, 2007 12:03 AM

Broken: Setra bus vent pictogram

SetraA reader writes in:

My employer runs a coach bus manufactured by Setra for associates who need to commute between company sites. The overhead panels in the bus include the vents depicted below.


The pictograms for "open" and "closed" are the least intuitive I've ever seen.

Anybody have any guesses whether "rectangle" or "oval" means open?


Hmm...maybe they shape the air vent exhaust into a circular blast or a rectangular blast?

Perhaps the rectangle is the equivalent of a one and the circle is representative of the zero (as seen on a large majority of power on/off buttons as a one inside a zero)?

I'm boggled otherwise...

Posted by: ashleyriot_vs at May 14, 2007 03:10 AM

While this is broken on a "quick-look while you are driving" level, it is easily solved by determining which setting the air blows out of ... and you could always read the manual.

Posted by: astuartgirl at May 14, 2007 01:17 PM

It's broken because there are a multitude of commonly-accepted and established ways to denote "open" and "closed", or "on" and "off", etc., and many samples can be found in the existing vehicle-vent world. The "rectangle and oval" design is just not one of them.

Posted by: tandy1000tl2 at May 14, 2007 02:49 PM

astuartgirl, why would a passenger on a bus have a manual for the air vents?

Posted by: mmcwatters at May 14, 2007 09:38 PM

I agree that the pictograms are vague (in fact so vague that they are meaningless), but it is easily solved by turning the lever and checking if air is flowing.

Posted by: ebob at May 14, 2007 09:47 PM

This is broken. What were the designers thinking when they decided to use those symbols?

My guess is they were trying to go with the standard "I" for on and "O" for off, but screwed it up slightly.

Posted by: TIBE4ME at May 14, 2007 10:15 PM

that's pretty standard for open and close on vents.. I've seen it in many cars and vehicles.. never had a problem with it... O /up Usually means open and Square/down usually =Closed

Posted by: Infinity306 at May 15, 2007 01:48 AM

I guess it doesn't make a lot of sense to me either, but my guess is that the round symbols is supposed to represent movement of the fan, and the rectangle would represent rigidity, or no fan/air movement.

Still broken. There's no real excuse to not have easy to understand symbols.

Posted by: tech_9 at May 16, 2007 12:14 PM

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