1. Guard Against Conflicting Messages

How to avoid creating unintended expectations

One of the most concise conflicting messages I’ve ever seen is this juxtaposition of two signs on a country road in Vermont:

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I have no idea how town authorities expect drivers to respond to these signs, but given my impatience at driving any slower than I have to, I decided the faster speed limit takes precedence.

Some situations, such as the juxtaposition of these signs, present a true contradiction. Other situations create only apparent contradictions. For example, near my office is a stretch of highway that has confused many travellers by simultaneously being ...

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