No smoke without fire

How can visual signs be used at different moments to either help prevent catastrophes, inform populations of disaster zones or as symbols to remember situations of crisis. From the letters painted on doors during the Peste de Marseille (1720), to the sprayed signs used to mark houses explored for survivors by relief workers in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.


During situation of emergency different signs systems are generated, either corresponding to international standardized systems or locally developed codes.

How do emergency situations prompt the creation and use of such signs? What is the state of the art in the field? What makes a system efficient, and how can past situations inspire more efficient systems?

Contribute to this research by sending pictures to


Leave A Comment