Mike Isaac

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Facebook’s Ever-Evolving Campus Welcome Sign

Welcome to Facebook! Have a poke.

Or a thumbs-up. A flower. Or most recently, perhaps a weird, three-circled symbol signifying search.

No, I’m not on the drugs. I’m talking about Facebook’s rotating signage graphics, a big ol’ billboard on the front lawn of the company’s Menlo Park campus, and the very first thing a person sees upon visiting the company’s headquarters.

Since Facebook moved from Palo Alto to its Menlo Park, Calif., digs inside the old Sun Microsystems campus, the company has had its iconic “Like” thumbs-up symbol as the front-lawn greeting sign.

But every so often, little tweaks and cutesy additions would find their way onto the sign. On Mother’s Day last year, for instance, someone decided to stick a few flowers into the “Like” symbol’s closed fist. And after Facebook debuted its latest app, “Poke,” in December, the sign changed again to — you guessed it — a big poking index finger.

I hear it’s the handiwork of Ben Barry, the designer who spearheaded Facebook’s Analog Research Lab. That’s the old-school screen-printing arm inside the company responsible for the thousands of slogan-laden posters that deck the halls of Facebook’s many global offices.

Barry’s latest sign design: A swath of blue dropcloth decked out in three spyglasses, draped over the poking finger symbol currently occupying the sign space (seen above). The new symbol coincides with Facebook’s introduction of Graph Search, the social giant’s first true foray into providing its users with a functioning search product.

It’s cute and playful, a nice touch to round out a big day of Facebook news on Tuesday. Though, considering the temporary nature of the new sign’s material, I doubt it’ll be up for long.

I’m just waiting to see what Barry puts up come Valentine’s Day.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus