Road signs of Middle-Earth

December 12, 2013

Our office design crew is full of fans of The Hobbit, and with The Desolation of Smaug opening tomorrow, we got together and cooked up a couple of signs that Bilbo, Thorin, Bard, Gandalf and company might have found handy in their travels.

Not all who wander are lost, but they might need some signs along the way…

 

Smaug could’ve used this one for sure.

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When you’re on a job site, the last thing you want is a bunch of Cockney-sounding Stone Trolls ruining everything with their boulders and their unquenchable taste for humanoid flesh.

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Gandalf’s sigil – which he uses to sign off on letters, and to do, well, pretty much everything else – shows up constantly in Tolkien’s series. We decided the American park system needed signage to indicate that Gandalf had come through, so we rendered his sign in campground brown.

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The Ringwraiths, or Nazgul, are among the most feared creatures in all of Middle-Earth, ticketing for busted taillights and day-late registration, persecuting drivers who do 51 in a 50 zone…

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Just trust us – you’re better off going the long way around.

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The third time Bilbo demonstrates his heroism to the dwarves: their memorable escape from Mirkwood by barrel.

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One of relatively few locations described in detail in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, it’s handy to know where Rivendell is.

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Crebain – swarms of malevolent, crow-like creatures – don’t actually show up until The Lord of the Rings, but we figured no one would mind too much.

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This phrase isn’t from The Hobbit, either, and may not even be in the novels of The Lord of the Rings. But hey, it’s in the movie version of The Fellowship of the Ring, it’s a meme, and that’s all the excuse our designers needed.

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The Rohirim are no laughing matter. They pick up litter all the way from Eriador to the shores of the Entwash River. It’s a big job.

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One of the enduring mysteries of the Lord of the Rings: why did Bilbo and Frodo walk all the way from the Shire to the Crack of Mount Doom, when travel by giant eagle is so much quicker and safer?

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The last thing anyone wants is to drive through a pack of ents on their way to an entmoot. If warned by one of these signs, responsible motorists will find another way through.

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Is it Smaug? Is it Thorin? Does either truly deserve to be named King Under the Mountain? Either way, he has a parking spot set aside, just for him.

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We’re not sure how useful a map that’s only visible in moonlight actually is. After all, is that really enough to read by? Usability alert, Thrór!

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It figures that the author of a book entitled There and Back Again comes from the land of redundant traffic circles.

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…And perhaps when Bilbo finally made it back to the Shire, he was greeted with this sign.
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