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This TSA Redesign Could Change the Way You Think About Airport Security

Illustration for article titled This TSA Redesign Could Change the Way You Think About Airport Security

The TSA needs help—bad. The agency and its blue-shirted officers have never been the most popular kids on the block, but things got worse last week when a former employee told all in a Politico article. But don't worry, TSA. The designers are here to save you.

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A few students from the School of Visual Arts in New York recently put together a complete rebranding strategy for the TSA as their thesis project, and it's brilliant. Gone are the confusing grey pictograms, reams of copy, and useless QR codes. Instead, you get simple, bold, and impressively honest statements like, "security is no fun," written in unassuming lowercase type. There's even a plan to hand out free water bottles to those who had to trash their drinks in order to clear security, and a very clever option that would let you buy your way to the front of the line.

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Illustration for article titled This TSA Redesign Could Change the Way You Think About Airport Security

As Fast Company's Margaret Rhodes explains in her write up, part of what makes the proposed design work so well is how empathetic the messages are. Going through security isn't fun. In fact, it usually sucks. TSA officers are also some of the surliest people you'll ever meet. You can't really blame them, since they have such a thankless job. But weirdly, as these images suggest, even a few signs with nice messages and a TSA logo could actually make a big impact.

Illustration for article titled This TSA Redesign Could Change the Way You Think About Airport Security

Who knows if the TSA will take these young designers' advice. But we all know that something needs to be done. Because seriously, one more story about a TSA agent stealing booze from an Iraq War veteran who's missing limbs, and I'm switching to trains. Check out the students' full thesis presentation below. [FastCo Design]

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DISCUSSION

You can't fix the TSA with visual design, no matter how well intentioned. The TSA was created by Congress, and is run by the Executive within the parameters they established.

I don't have an intimate understanding of how the TSA operates or how the law is written, but it has been a disaster under Democrat and Republican Congresses under Republican and Democrat Presidents.

Maybe you see where I'm heading with this? We simply need better people writing the laws and better people executing them. Both major parties are clearly unable or unwilling to provide such persons. Maybe we should stop voting for the candidates they offer.