I have had these pictures paired and ready to go for several months but have been mulling over my take on them. I love the picture on the left. I can say with 100% certainty the person who put those numbers there didn’t give a rat’s ass about how they looked. They were doing their job, marking the cable box and then moving on with their day. They couldn’t go straight across with the numbers because there wasn’t room without having to wrap around the box. So, going straight down was the logical solution.
The picture on the right was taken during the AIGA conference in Boston. I love the artwork that was being displayed but I really love the giant numbers. In this case, there was room to run the numbers horizontally above the door or beside the door but the designer chose to run it vertically up the door (the doorway is just to the right).
I’m neutral on which format is a better read. I think they both work in the way they are being used. I think it’s interesting to take a second look at how numbers are used on a day to day basis.