Back Lit Illuminated Reception Sign at Boohoo Head Office

New Signage – 5 Reasons You Need a Site Survey

As a company that designs, manufactures and installs signage for clients in a wide range of sectors, we’re used to customers coming to us with well-considered concepts for their signs. While this is a great starting point, our experience and expertise help us to take this to the next level, making the designs more effective, overcoming practical problems, taking advantage of unseen opportunities, improving compliance and saving money. To achieve these things, however, it is important that we conduct a site survey. Here, we’ll explain why.

1.  Improve effectiveness

All signs have a job to do, whether that’s promoting your brand, helping people get from one place to another or communicating important messages. A good sign is one that does its job to maximum effect. Only by visiting a site can our designers understand the best place to locate a sign, the most appropriate type of sign which should be used and the features that a sign needs to have the greatest impact.

Designers will consider where people view the sign from and which angle, height and size will be most effective. They’ll look to see if illumination is beneficial and which materials are the most appropriate to use. They’ll also evaluate whether your concept for a design will work against the background of the place where it is to be installed, ensuring there are no ugly colour clashes or that the sign doesn’t blend in and become invisible.

2. Practical solutions

There are many practicalities which need to be considered when commissioning a sign and sign companies need to assess these before they can begin the design and manufacturing process.

With regards to the design, they will look at the most appropriate materials to ensure the sign has longevity. External signs, for example, need to be made from materials that will withstand weathering and which will be easy to clean. It’s not just the sign that needs consideration, its method of erection is equally important. It needs the right fixtures to ensure it goes in the most effective location and stays securely in place while still looking attractive.

Other practicalities can include ensuring the signage fits in with conservation area guidelines or meets planning permission. Many customers want LED illuminated signage and this means that a feasible electrical installation has to be part of the design process. Only by visiting the site can a designer see the requirements of the task and find practical solutions for them.

3. Unseen opportunities

A specialist sign designer has a wealth of understanding of the various types of sign available and how they can be put to good use. This means that they can often see opportunities for great signage that the site owners haven’t realised. You may see a window as something to look through, a designer may visualise the potential benefits of window graphics to advertise products or to improve the attractiveness of the building. What is a bare internal wall could be a highly visual display area. A roadside railing at the perimeter of your premises could be the best place to put a sign that will attract every passing vehicle. Even your own company van, with the right vehicle graphics, can provide you with eye-catching mobile advertising seen by thousands of potential customers.

Again, it is only through a site survey that these unseen opportunities can be discovered and pointed out to you.

4. Better compliance

Organisations of all kinds have to comply with the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. These are detailed regulations covering a wide range of health and safety signage requirements, many of which are mandatory with others needed for specific purposes.

Signs must be legible and clear, identifying actions that are prohibited (e.g. no entry), safety procedures that must be adhered to (e.g. eye protection must be worn), give warning of hazards (e.g. slippery surface) and direct people towards fire exits, fire equipment and first-aid equipment.

These regulations not only stipulate which signs need to be displayed; they also state where they are to be located and how they should be maintained. In some circumstances, they also make it obligatory for signs to be illuminated, have back up power supplies and be accompanied by warning sounds. Failure to comply with the regulations puts employees, customers and other visitors at risk and can lead to prosecution.

While the ultimate responsibility for ensuring compliance lies with the organisation, a site visit from an experienced sign design company that supplies health and safety signage can ensure that the right signs are in the right place and identify any existing signs that need replacement.

5. Save money

While a sign should always be seen as an investment rather than an expense, there are ways to achieve your goals without going over budget. By visiting your site, a sign designer can often find a range of ways to keep your signage costs to a minimum. For example, they can find ways to maximise the lifespan of a sign, use a single, multi-directional sign rather than separate signs, look at less expensive solutions for fixings and installation and consider the use of less expensive materials. Even when it comes to lighting, they can suggest modern LED lights which are affordable to buy, have exceptional longevity and are low on power consumption.

Summing up

While it is always a good idea to have a concept in mind for your new signage, a site visit from an experienced sign company can be very beneficial. It can discover opportunities that you might not have considered, find practical solutions to the obstacles in your way, improve the effectiveness of your signage, ensure you comply with regulations and find ways to keep costs to a minimum.

If you are considering new signage for your organisation, why not get a free site survey from ESP Signs?

 

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6 Things to Consider When Purchasing Hospital Signage

Hospitals are large, complex institutions with often confusing layouts. Hospital signage is crucial to help staff, patients, visitors, contractors and delivery companies find the right locations.

It can also ensure that health and safety requirements are complied with and can even make the hospital more welcoming to those who are worried and anxious. Using signage to achieve all these things requires detailed planning and here, we’ll look at six key considerations needed when purchasing hospital signage.

  1. Assuring people they have arrived

When assessing the signage needs of your hospital, you need to begin outside. Hospitals have a lot of people going to them, aside from staff and patients, there are always lots of visitors and delivery vehicles. Everyone will need to know they have come to the right place, especially if there is more than one hospital in the town.

An exterior sign displaying the name of the hospital is essential and this will need to be clearly seen by traffic on the nearby roads. In some circumstances, multiple exterior signs may be needed and if the hospital is set back from the roadside, freestanding signs might need to be located near to the site’s entrance.

As hospitals are open 24 hours a day, external signs should be illuminated to ensure they can be seen during the night.

  1. Getting to the right building or entrance

While knowing they have arrived at the right site can put anxious patients at ease, there’s the added complexity that hospitals are usually made up of different buildings, some of which can be on different sites, and which often have their own car parks, entrances and delivery depots. Even in single-building facilities, there are usually multiple entry points, such as the main entrance, A&E and outpatients, etc.

So, in addition to large signs that name the hospital, individual buildings and entrances will need external signage that informs people what part of the hospital they are at. On top of this, external wayfinding signs can point people in the right direction in what can be a confusing and potentially disorientating environment.

  1. Helping people find their way around

Once inside, hospitals can be exceptionally difficult to navigate. With a plethora of corridors, all of which look vaguely similar to newcomers, it can be very confusing to know where you are or how to get to where you are going. This is made even more complex in multi-storey buildings where all the floors have the same or similar layout.

In highly complex internal environments such as these, wayfinding signage is absolutely essential. However, for it to be effective, it needs to be carefully considered and planned. Signs need to be installed in the right places, provide the right information, make effective use of colour coding and be easy to follow. There also needs to be consistency in how they are used. In addition to signs, the use of ‘You are here’ diagrams and colour coded floor or wall trails (e.g., follow the blue line) can also be useful in heavy traffic areas.

  1. Catering for different needs

Perhaps more than any other type of building, hospitals will need to ensure their signage system caters for a range of individual needs. Not all patients or visitors will have English as a first language, for instance, and this means there may be a need to use multiple languages on some signs or use universal symbols to help people. This is particularly important when considering the use of medical terminology on signage where even people with a very good grasp of English can get confused. Why send people to the phlebotomy department when it makes much more sense to patients to call it the blood test department?

Aside from literacy issues, other considerations include catering for those who are blind or who have limited vision. This means Braille signage may need to be added to the mix.

  1. Making people feel comfortable

People can feel very anxious when entering a hospital and a lot of effort goes into making them feel less clinical and more welcoming for patients and their visitors. Shops and cafés can give an air of normality while displaying artwork on the walls can make them feel a little more homely.

Signage, too, has a role to play in creating an atmosphere that puts people at ease. Replacing a bland welcome sign in the children’s ward with one which uses colourful images and friendlier fonts can make a nervous child (and their equally concerned parents) much less frightened when entering the ward. The use of window graphics can also be used to brighten up reception areas, wards, clinics and corridors.

  1. Meeting legal obligations

As hospitals are both a public building and a place of work, this means health and safety signage is needed to comply with legal requirements. Signs are needed for such things as emergency exits, fire extinguishers, the disposal of medical waste, radiation warnings and much more.

Before installing health and safety signs, it is recommended that an audit is undertaken to ensure that managers have a detailed and comprehensive overview of what signs are required and where. You will then need to determine the most effective way to display them and ensure that other signs in the vicinity do not distract people’s attention away from them.

Conclusion

Hospitals are hugely important public buildings that are frequently busy and where there are lots of people who may be unfamiliar not only with the facility’s layout but with the local area in which it is located. Signage is crucial to help people, including those with additional needs, get to where they need to be as easily as possible. At the same time, signage is needed to meet health and safety regulations and can be helpful in creating a more welcoming atmosphere.

If you need help putting together a comprehensive hospital signage system or need to make additions to your existing signage visit our Healthcare Signage page.

 

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The Importance of Effective Healthcare Signs

Signage is essential for modern society to function, we need signs to help us find our way, keep us safe and to provide important information. This is why we find signs everywhere, from traffic signs to the labels on our clothes. The need for good healthcare signs is exceptionally important as it has to provide a unique set of solutions.

What is the role of healthcare signage?
There are a number of functions that signage systems need to carry out in healthcare environments, these include:

  • Directing staff, patients and visitors to and from places within the building.
  • Identifying locations so that people know they have arrived at their destination.
  • Managing the flow of traffic within a location (from cars and ambulances externally to people and trolleys internally).
  • Managing security, medical risk and health and safety.

What issues do healthcare signs have to solve?
To be effective, good healthcare signage has to solve a range of important issues. Here we’ll look at several of them.

Literacy problems

According to the Royal College of General Practitioners, poor literacy levels among patients and visitors means that much of the current signage in use is ineffective, with up to half of visitors having problems understanding the medical terminology used on signs. For example, patients not knowing that radiology is where to go for x-rays or phlebotomy for blood tests.

The lack of clearer signs is a leading factor in the number of people missing or turning up late for appointments. Both the RCGP and the Patients Association believe that medical jargon and confusing signs should be replaced in hospitals, clinic and surgeries.

Instead, cardiology should be the heart department, radiology the x-ray department and so forth.
To cater for the many people for whom English is not their first language, the use of commonly recognised symbols is advised where it is practical – such as signs for washing hands or no entry.

Preventing inefficiency

One of the issues caused by poor signage is that it impacts on the efficiency of the healthcare centre. When people become lost, it wastes the time of practitioners, patients and visitors. People miss important appointments, schedules are put into chaos and waiting patients face longer delays. At the same time, countless hours of NHS staff time which should be used for the care and treatment of patients is lost helping people to their destination.

With staffing workloads already at elevated levels in the healthcare sector, a good signage system could go some way to alleviating the burden.

Improving wellbeing

A visit to the doctors or a hospital can be an anxious and a stressful time for patients and visitors alike. Unfortunately, a badly designed wayfinding system can exacerbate the problem, making people feel panicked and frightened. Increased stress means people are less likely to take in the visual clues to their whereabouts and this can make them disorientated. It can also result in angry and even violent behaviour towards others. Stress can also have negative effects on a patient’s health, raising blood pressure, increasing fatigue and causing headaches.

A well-designed wayfinding system can help patients and visitors arrive in a much calmer state, improving their wellbeing and reducing the risk to themselves or others.

Improving accessibility

The very nature of a healthcare environment means there are going to be plenty of people in the building with accessibility problems arising from disability, illness or injury. Good signage is a key factor in ensuring that these people get the most appropriate routes of access to wherever they need to go and that there is no discrimination.

Tips for getting healthcare signs right
Here are some general tips to help healthcare centres make their signs more effective for staff, patients and visitors.

  • Any signage system should be used consistently throughout the entire centre or even across a health authority.
  • Where appropriate, design signs to include easily understood symbols.
  • Use terminology on signs that everyone understands, not just the staff.
  • Use neutral or calming colours.
  • Place signs at the precise locations where people need them, for example, where people need to make decisions about which lift to take or corridor to go down.
  • Avoid overly busy signage by removing anything but essential information.
  • Avoid placing signs where they can be obscured.

Conclusion
Healthcare environments can often be large and busy places where things are hard to find and, for many users, challenging to access. At the same time, there is a lot of information that needs displaying. Effective signage makes these environments run smoothly and safely. It reduces risk, lateness, stress and workload, producing a calmer, more orderly and professional place for staff, patients and visitors.

If you work in a healthcare environment and are looking to upgrade your signage, visit our Healthcare Signs page to see how we can help.

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