DUE TO A LAPSE IN FEDERAL FUNDING ...

Government shutdown notices, ranked from panicked to indifferent

“We’re sorry.”
“We’re sorry.”
Image: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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Step into the shoes of a US government employee. Just days before Christmas, you learn that the federal government will shut down. The agency you work for will no longer be funded, the immediate future of your salary is uncertain, and now you’re tasked with informing the public online before the lights go out.

Looking at the varied collection of federal agency website alerts, you can almost imagine the emotions of the people who had to make them.

Alarmed

USA.gov’s pop-up notice not-so-subtly suggests there’s no need to panic. But if you want to panic, feel free.

USA.gov
USA.gov

Concerned

The National Archives are also wary, but really hope you don’t worry: After all, the Ronald Reagan Museum and the George W. Bush Museum remain open for business.

National Archives
National Archives

Keeping calm and carrying on (panicked but on the inside)

What would Good Housekeeping do? When the U.S. Small Business Administration is down, they subdue the panic with style. The yellow alert bar matches the lemons and the shutdown notice is but a “special announcement.”

U.S. Small Business Administration
U.S. Small Business Administration

Indecisive

Overheard at the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

— Where shall we put the shutdown notice? We really don’t want anyone to miss it. A banner? No, an alert bar. Or, perhaps in an article box?

— Just put it everywhere.

National Institute of Standards and Technology
National Institute of Standards and Technology

Indifferent

For Homeland Security it’s just another day, just another information bar.

Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security

In it for the art

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website was already beauty incarnate. Then came the alert banner. The orange couldn’t be more perfect. The symbol has a slight bevel; the importance of the information reflects the hierarchy of the typeface. Friend, your attention to detail has not gone unnoticed.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Practical

The Bureau of Industry and Security knows three things to be true: 1) The website is not being updated 2) They’re part of the Department of Commerce 3) Some people just gotta print.

This is now on my fridge.

Bureau of Industry and Security
Bureau of Industry and Security

Over it

The Economic Development Administration is already over it. Let’s just put the thing up. Wrong red; illegible text. Done. Let’s all go home.

U.S. Economic Development Administration
U.S. Economic Development Administration

Indignant

You want a shutdown? I’ll give you a shutdown.

The International Trade Administration shutdown notice is one part indignant protest, one part cry of existential anxiety, and one part brutalist art piece.

International Trade Administration
International Trade Administration

Proud

Wait … proud?

Hey United States Patent Office? No need to brag.

United States Patent Office
United States Patent Office