Gratefish Storm Drain

Gratefish Storm Drain

Mauk Design, San Francisco, California, 1997


Problem: People pour old motor oil and other toxic chemicals down storm drains. The current solutions are spray-painted warnings and hefty fines. Unfortunately, the paint wears off (into the drain), incurring an ongoing maintenance cost, and the fines are applied only after the fact. Moreover, the warnings are usually in English and don’t work in multilingual communities.

The Gratefish drain uses a universally understandable symbol to communicate the consequences of pouring motor oil (or other chemicals) down storm drains. The playful shape of the fish communicates the message with a positive tone.

Collections: Communication Graphics: 19 (1998)
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Environmental graphic design
Format: Information graphic, Artifact


Design firm
Mauk Design
Creative director
Mitchell Mauk
Graphic designers
Mitchell Mauk, Laurence Raines
Grate Drains