poster case for schools

5 Benefits of Using Poster Cases in Schools

Nowhere makes as much use of paper displays as a school. They are on every corridor, in every hall, on every wall and you’ll even find them stuck to windows and glass panel doors. And there’s a huge range of things being put on display too: learning aids, information posters, classroom rules, daily notices, weekly bulletins, timetables, rotas, instructions, advertisements, letters, pupils’ work, rewards charts, maps of the school, you name it. Inside and out, schools are awash with displays which, despite best efforts, are often chaotic and unattractive and where some of the more important information fails to get its message across. What’s the solution? Poster cases. Here’ we’ll explain why.

1. Move information outdoors

Some poster cases are waterproof and are designed for outdoor use, complete with lockable cases. Putting these in outdoor spaces provides a number of benefits. Firstly, a noticeboard for parents and visitors can be placed near the entrance to the school where they can access information without having to visit the reception or make a phone call. This also gets rid of the unsightly practise of Blu-Tacking sheets of paper to reception windows.

Placing external poster cases in the school playground enables pupils to read them during break and lunchtimes. This means the items don’t need to be displayed in corridors where groups gathered to look at them can impede the traffic of others as they make their way around the school. Not only does this lead to more punctual lesson starts; it also makes the corridors safer.

2. Stops defacement and vandalism

Every school has a serial defacer who can’t resist the temptation to add their moniker or ‘artwork’ to a display.  Vandalism of such nature can be inappropriate, offensive to many and embarrassing to the school, especially when the head is showing the Ofsted team around the building.

A poster case puts a stop to defacement by keeping your notices and posters behind a protective casing. Even better, it’s not just the posters themselves which are protected; with anti-vandal glazing and secure, anti-tamper locks, the poster case itself is vandal-proof.

3. Stops information being taken down or covered

The competition for wall space in a staffroom often leads teachers to take down or cover over important notices so that they can put up their own. Hence the schedule for next week’s training day will be usurped by a notice about the forthcoming staff social.

While all these posters serve a purpose and are no doubt important to the people who pin them up, some of these are critical to the effective running of the school and need to remain prominently on display. One only has to think of the chaos that can happen if the cover list or duty rota go missing and pupils are left unsupervised as a result.

The solution is to reserve one area for a secure, lockable poster case. The fact there is only one of these means everyone will know that’s where the really important information is to be found. And to ensure only important information goes in there, you can issue keys only to those who need access, such as senior leaders, the head of admin and the head’s PA.

4. Prevents inappropriate posters being put up

It’s common practice in schools for children to organise events and create all the promotional materials. While these cross-curricular activities are beneficial from an educational point of view, sometimes the final versions of the posters they produce are not given proper scrutiny and can contain images and texts which run contrary to the values of the school. It’s not just pupils at error either, non-politically correct posters made by staff even hit the headlines, as any Google search will show.

Aside from these ill-considered faux pas, there are, unfortunately, some more serious problems with unauthorised posters. It is not unheard of for parents with businesses to ask their children to put adverts up around the school, nor for children to put up flyers for events that are inappropriate for their age group. Today’s politically and socially conscious kids might also display material for causes and organisations that the school cannot approve of, perhaps because of its own religious affiliations or because of its need to remain neutral on such topics.

Once again, the use of lockable poster cases prevents anything from being put on display without first being authorised by the school.

5. Longer lasting classroom displays

A great deal of work goes into making classroom displays and they can turn an ugly old room into a vibrant learning environment. Over the course of the school year, however, they get leaned on, picked at, scribbled on and torn and soon become tired and in need of replacement. That means more work for the already overworked staff and more expense for backing paper, borders and lamination.

At the same time, some of the things which go on display have personal value, such as a pupil’s best work or something of sentimental worth they have brought in from home. At some point, they will want these back in good condition.

A poster case protects wall displays from the dust, dirty fingers and accidental damage that can shorten their longevity and make the room a less appealing place to learn.

Conclusion

Posters and notices in all their varieties continue to play an important role in schools. However, the way they are displayed can cause issues of its own. A poster case is the ideal solution to ensure you only display what is authorised and that what goes on display remains protected.

For more information see our Poster Cases page.

 

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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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School Signage – A Class Act

Many of today’s schools are large, densely populated campuses where significant numbers of people are constantly moving around and where there is more and more important information to be displayed. In environments like these, getting the message across in the most effective way is absolutely critical and great signage is the key to doing this successfully. In this post, we’ll look at the widening use of signs and how they are benefitting schools.

Creating the right first impression

The good use of school signage begins outside the building. It starts with an external sign that presents the school to those in the wider community and to staff, students and visitors who enter the premises. This is the sign that depicts the school brand – its values, its status and its identity – and sets the tone of what people should expect at the school. A well-designed school sign doesn’t just have impact; it forges a perception of what your school is like. These signs, which can incorporate your logo and motto and be designed using school colours, can be mounted on posts, affixed to walls and fences or even be created from cut out 2D or 3D letters that are attached in prominent places at the entrance and illuminated for 24-hour display.

Banners are another common form of signage seen at the school’s exterior and are used for a variety of reasons, such as to promote events like open evenings, summer fairs and drama productions or to advertise your successes, as many schools do with outstanding Ofsted inspections or fantastic exam results. Made from robust materials, these highly versatile signs can incorporate everything from the latest graphics to eye-catching photographic images and are easily affixed to railings and fences. They are also reusable and can be rolled up and stored for safekeeping or transportation.

Taking the confusion out of campus design

Modern schools, especially larger secondaries, often have more than one building for people to find. For new students and staff and for visitors, it can often be confusing where things are. External wayfinding signs provide a simple yet effective solution combining helpful fingerpost signs, that point people in the right direction, with reassuring building signs that identify each separate location. With these latter signs in place, people know when they have arrived at the right building without having to go inside to check. External wall signs with directional arrows can also be incorporated into this navigational system.

Internal navigation

Internally, schools are never the easiest buildings to find your way around. With a sprawling network of endless corridors, often repeated over several storeys, it’s not only hard to get to where you’re going; it can be easy to get completely lost. For newcomers, a single wrong turn can take them to places that make it impossible to find their bearings, which is not good in environments that look unfavourably on the lateness of teachers and pupils alike.

Improved punctuality and the benefits that come from it can all be achieved from ensuring that the external wayfinding system mentioned above continues indoors. Good school wayfinding can include ceiling hung corridor signs, signs at corridor junctions and stairwells, directional wall signs, departmental entrance signs and the obligatory door signage. These can be created affordably in acrylic or even Foamex and easily attached to the structural features. They can also be colour coded and be used for branding purposes by including the school or even the department logo.

Reinforcing values

Over the last few years, it has become popular for schools to use signage to reinforce their values throughout the building. Some schools use large and prominent signs to depict important keywords, e.g., tolerance, respect and responsibility, while others create signs listing their main school rules for placement in classrooms or display excerpts from their core value statements to put in places like assembly halls. These important signs serve as a continual visual reminder to all members of the school community of the expectations on students and staff with regard to how they conduct themselves when in the building.

Health and safety

Health and safety are paramount in any working environment but one can argue that they are even more important when the majority of people in the building are minors. Children’s natural tendency to play around can put them at risk of harming themselves and others, especially in subject areas where potentially dangerous equipment is being used, such as in technology, science and PE. Prominent signage can reinforce important health and safety rules and lessen the risk of injury.

At the same time, schools have certain signs that they are legally required to display and maintain, such as those which identify the location of fire extinguishers, emergency exits and mustering points. Often the type of health and safety sign used, its location, mode of display (e.g. whether it needs illumination) and maintenance are prescribed by legislation.

Conclusion

School signage plays a number of important roles, from helping to promote the school and its brand to keeping staff and students safe. There is a wide selection of signage options available to carry out these functions, many available in a range of colours, sizes, shapes, designs and materials. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find the right combination of signage options to improve your school.

For more information, visit our Schools Signs page.

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Getting Around the Campus – Wayfinding Signage for Universities

University campuses are like mini towns. Far more than buildings where people go to study and research, they also have accommodation blocks, management suites, health and welfare services, student unions, sport and recreational facilities, refectories, restaurants and shops.

All these places can be scattered across sites that are sometimes hundreds of acres in size and have huge internal spaces (the University of Manchester has almost 900,000 sqm of floor space and over 50,000 rooms).

How then do you help the tens of thousands of students and staff find their way around? The answer is wayfinding signage and, in this post, we’ll look at the particular needs of universities and explain how best to create a campus wayfinding signage system.

Why universities need wayfinding signs

Aside from their enormous size and the diverse range of buildings they house, university campuses have complex layouts. Most of our universities are long established, which means they will have grown organically over the years. Internally, too, large university buildings are challenging to navigate; multi-story and multi-purpose, they can be bewildering for those unfamiliar with their layouts.

The biggest issues are likely to happen at the start of the academic year when there are not just freshers getting lost but those in other years who are trying to find new rooms and venues. However, even when regular attendees have become familiar with their new routes, there are still many visitors, contractors and new staff who will need help to navigate the site.

Even more important than helping people find their way in, is helping them find their way out in an emergency. Wayfinding signage is crucial in getting people to emergency exits and muster points quickly.

Solutions for university campuses    

A campus wayfinding system needs to provide a practical solution that helps staff, students and others get to the places they want to be. This requires it to display pertinent information in a way that is simple to understand and which provides clear, easy to follow directions. Ensuring this is done effectively on such a complex site requires experience of how wayfinding systems work, together with detailed planning and a comprehensive understanding of how the campus functions.

Planning the system demands knowing how traffic flows through the campus and making note of the places where navigational decisions need to be made, such as the junctions and exits in external routeways, in foyers, at staircases and at corridor junctions, etc. Displaying information in the right places is critical and this may require the use of different sign types, such as ‘You are Here’ maps, upright signposts, wall mounted and ceiling hung signs.

The information placed on a sign needs to be simple to understand at a glance, where possible using universally recognisable symbols that can make it much easier for international students who are not overly familiar with English. Wayfinding also needs to consider those students with special needs, such as using symbols which indicate wheelchair-friendly routes or providing Braille signage.

Campus wayfinding systems also need consistent signage as this helps people easily recognise which signs are for wayfinding. Where inconsistency occurs, people can easily miss a sign and end up getting lost. This means that all wayfinding signs should have the same design, use the same typeface and colouring and, where possible, have the same shape.

One potential difficulty for wayfinding signage on campuses is that walls are often used to display other information. Where wall hung signage has to compete for attention, the visual overload can mean it is less effective – people just don’t see it for everything else around. it is important, therefore, that wayfinding signage is given priority and nearby displays relocated so they do not camouflage it.

A way to increase the visual impact of a wayfinding sign is to add elements of the university brand, for example, using the university colours or typeface. Adding these has the additional benefit of extending the university’s identity throughout the campus and in doing so, reinforces its core values.

Best materials for campus signage

There is a growing range of materials from which wayfinding signs can be constructed, however, on busy campuses, it is best to pick materials that are robust and durable. Acrylic signs are a good and affordable solution, as they can be manufactured in a wide range of colours, shapes, sizes and fonts and can incorporate images into the design.

Conclusion

University wayfinding signs help staff, students and others navigate the complex external and internal places on today’s large campuses. It makes the campus more welcoming and user-friendly and helps people arrive at the right place at the right time so that lectures, seminars, meetings and other events go ahead as scheduled without disruption.

If you want assistance in creating a wayfinding system for your university or college campus, check out our Wayfinding Signs page.

 

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5 Reasons Poster Cases are Ideal for Noticeboards

Wherever you go in the UK, you’re likely to come across a noticeboard. From shops to churches, surgeries to schools, they are used to promote events, advertise local businesses and give important information. They have long been part of our way of life and even in the age of text messages, emails and notifications, they continue to be popular ways to disseminate printed information – bucking the trend when compared to the demise of the local newspaper.

Today, the humble noticeboard is moving with the times. The simple board that someone could attach a piece of paper to with a drawing pin has been superseded by one which is protected by a case. There are very good reasons why you should consider upgrading to a poster case. Here are some you might want to think about.

  1. Better outdoor display

British weather has never been kind to posters and notices displayed on outdoor boards. Wind can tear them or even blow them away and rain can blur the ink and damage the paper beyond practical use. Signs simply stuck to an outdoor noticeboard will not last that long, especially as most notices are made in-house and printed using paper and ink meant for indoor use. Even putting them inside plastic document wallets isn’t going to protect them for too long.

A more effective solution is the poster case – some of which are purposely built for outdoor use so that besides having the glass to keep the wind and rain away, the casings are watertight and even the fixing holes are carefully positioned to prevent rain entering. Not only does this ensure your notices and posters remain undamaged for as long as you need them, they’ll also stay looking presentable at all times.

  1. Prevents vandalism and defacement

A notice or poster outside of a case is vulnerable, especially those placed in unsupervised areas. Posters are easy to deface and vandalise and it’s not unheard of for someone to take a marker pen and add a few unwanted details.

A poster case prevents your notices and posters from being defaced by keeping them within the protective casing. Indeed, it’s not only the posters that are protected; the poster cases themselves are made from robust materials, some have anti-vandal glazing and secure, anti-tamper locks.

  1. Prevents unauthorised removal of posters

It’s not uncommon for people to take notices and posters down. If someone objects to an event being advertised on a noticeboard, an easy form of public protest is to remove the offending piece of paper. If this was a notice about an important meeting and no one discovered it had been removed, it could affect the turnout.

This can happen for all kinds of reasons: businesses removing adverts for their competitors, locals taking down the poster for a local gig because they don’t like the noise or the extra traffic, or people taking down notices for a particular charity because they disagree with its aims.

A secure, lockable poster case ensures only authorised individuals have access to the notices and thus prevents this form of theft taking place.

  1. Stops unauthorised notices being displayed

Flyposting is a much-used guerrilla marketing tactic where adverts or flyers are put up without permission, often in illegal places. If you have an unprotected noticeboard, therefore, there is the potential that someone could use it to display their own notices.

This can cause several problems, perhaps the main one being when the poster advertises something that goes against the values of the organisation to which the noticeboard belongs. Using a poster case ensures that the owners have the ability to authorise every notice or poster which goes on display, preventing embarrassing or offensive materials from being posted without permission.

  1. Improved presentation

Poster cases are a great way to improve the presentation of your notices. Aside from preventing carefully placed notices from being moved around or damaged by passers-by, the case provides an attractive frame that draws the attention of those in the vicinity. The inside of the case can also be decorated with different colours, backings or borders.

Poster cases can also be placed below a specially designed sign that states what kind of noticeboard it is. It can even be illuminated so that the notices are visible when it is dark. This is ideal for those places which open late.

Conclusion

Notices and posters are the short-term signs that organisations always want to draw particular attention to. A poster case is the ideal way to present these and to keep them protected, whether they are installed internally or outside. They also prevent notices being vandalised or removed and stop people from displaying unauthorised notices.

For more information see our Poster Cases page.

 

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school signs at Castle Hills Primary

5 Things to Consider When Buying a New School Sign

Over the last few years, school signs have become increasingly important. They are usually the first thing that pupils, parents and visitors see on arrival and how they look often reveals more than the important information that’s displayed upon them.

Getting the right sign for your school can be a challenge so, in this post, we’ll look at five things you need to consider when buying a new school sign.

  1. Communicating the brand message

Every school is unique and central to this are your vision and ethos. For schools, these are often epitomised in the school’s branding, which includes your logo, school colours, typeface and motto. Ensuring these are faithfully represented on your exterior sign is vital as it gives an important first impression to those visiting the school, be they prospective parents and pupils, potential new staff coming to look around or the Ofsted inspection team.

  1. Getting a complete design

Incorporating your branding onto your school sign is only part of the process. Your design will need to include other essential details. Today, it is common for most school signs to include the telephone number and website address. Others show additional information, such as whether the school is part of a larger multi-academy trust or is voluntary aided, while there are some which are embellished with pertinent images.

Once you have a list of all the required information and branding, you will then need to consider the appropriate colours for the background and the text as these will help ensure your sign gets noticed and is able to be read from the desired distance.

You will also need to think about the shape and size of your sign. Although square and rectangular signs are the most common, modern materials and design techniques mean there is no requirement for it to be a regular shape if you want to go for something a little bolder. The size of your sign will depend on how far away you want it to be seen and on how practical a specific size is for your needs.

For schools in conservation areas, there may be restrictions on the size and design you are allowed to display as you may need to keep these in fitting with the local area.

A final consideration is where to put the name of the headteacher or principal. Putting this information on the main sign means that when, inevitably, a new leader takes charge, a new sign will be needed. To save costs in the long term, it is usually the practice, these days, to display the head’s name on a matching sign that is placed beneath the main sign.

  1. Choosing the right materials

There is a range of different materials you can use to create your school sign. The most popular include printed acrylic signs which are hardwearing and can be created in a wide variety of colours or shapes. Some schools also opt for more elaborate signs which incorporate cut out 2D or 3D lettering made from acrylic or metals.

It is even possible to use LED lighting to ensure your signs are visible at night, which can be useful when holding open evenings, parents’ evenings and school productions or simply for use during the dark mornings and afternoons during winter.

  1. Placing your sign for greatest impact

Key to the success of any school sign is where you put it as this will affect who can see it and from how far. The most common location is at the main entrance to the site, as this tells people they have arrived at the right place. However, there are many schools where the external design of the site means this is not the most practical solution. Sometimes, it needs to be displayed adjacent to a playground or on the actual wall of the building. On occasions, schools may wish to have a multi-directional sign created so that it can be seen for people travelling in different directions. For large schools and those operating on multiple sites, it can be necessary to require more than one sign.

Placing a sign will require you to choose the appropriate methods to display it. These may include freestanding posts and poles or more complex structures that need to be installed safely before the sign goes up, or for the sign to be securely attached to an existing building.

  1. Picking the best signage company

With all these considerations in mind, it’s important to choose the right signage company for your school sign. Ideally, you will need a company that has prior experience in creating school signs and has the capacity to handle the complete process from site survey to design, manufacture and installation. This should include providing you with a designer that understands your requirements and can turn the desired visualisation into the finished sign.

Importantly, you should also choose a company whose installers are fully DBS checked, safe to work in schools and who undergo safeguarding training.

Conclusion

As you can see, getting the right sign for your school takes some thinking about. It needs to encapsulate your brand, display the necessary information, be designed to have a presence and displayed where it can be clearly seen. The best way to achieve these things is to choose the right signage company, one that will produce the sign you need and carry out the entire process for you.

If you are looking for a new school sign, check out our School Signage page.

 

 

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Sign Makers: 10 Reasons To Choose Wisely

Great signage can make a big difference to your organisation. It can improve your brand’s identity, show people where to find you, advertise your services to a wider audience and make you stand out from the competition. These things, however, will only happen if you have the right signage and you’ll only get that if you choose your sign maker carefully. Here, we’ll show you ten key things to look for in a quality sign maker.

Understanding your organisation

For a sign to be effective, it has to work well for its audience. To achieve this, the sign maker needs to have a full understanding not just of your sector but of your individual organisation. When searching for a sign manufacturer, you should look for one which has experience within your sector and which will be willing to spend the time getting to know your business. Before they make your signage, they should make the effort to understand your brand’s identity, your company’s mission and the customers you want to attract.

Experience in the industry

Sign making has been a skilled profession since the reign of Richard III when ale house landlords were compelled to display signs outside their pubs. Although the profession has changed radically over the last 650 years, today’s sign makers still undergo years of practice in order to hone their skills.

When choosing a signage supplier, look for a company that employs highly experienced sign makers whose expertise will ensure that the signs you want are of the highest quality and suitable for your needs.

Offers a design service

One of the key services a sign manufacturer can offer is to design your signage for you. While you can design a sign yourself or have an artistic designer create one for you, what a sign designer brings to the table is a knowledge of the materials in which they work. This gives them the capacity to see potential in the use of materials that other creators might not have conceived.

However, not all sign makers offer a design service, some will only create what you bring through the door. Our advice is to choose a maker that can design and manufacture. This often works out to be less expensive, too.

Uses advanced technology

Like in most industries, the computer has revolutionised the way sign makers work. Today, a good sign manufacturer should be using a range of hi-tech solutions to create even better designs and signs of a higher quality finish.

Computerised technologies can be used for 2D and 3D designing, accurate architectural cutting and printing, LED lighting design and for ensuring the structural integrity of your signs.

Works with a range of materials

Advances in technology have enabled sign makers to use a wider range of materials from which to manufacture their signs.

Today, you can purchase signs made from acrylic, wood and various metals, including aluminium, stainless steel, copper, brass and even titanium – all of which can be created in different styles of with different finishes. There are also graphic signs which can be printed and attached to vehicles or windows.

Signs can be created in 2D or 3D, can combine multiple materials and be illuminated with striking LED lighting. Make sure your sign maker offers you a wide range of options.

Can make bespoke signage

While there are instances when you can save money using an off the shelf design, there are some signs that need to make a statement about your organisation and others that, because of where they are to be placed, demand a unique approach to their construction. At times like these, you need a company that is able to provide a bespoke signage solution and which can work with you to produce something that is visually stunning, or which overcomes any installation challenges that you face. Check out whether a sign maker can create bespoke signage before you use them.

Variety of signage types

It makes sense to choose a sign maker that is able to design and manufacture a wide range of different signs. If you are installing a wayfinding system, for example, you may require more than one type of sign to do this effectively (i. e., ‘You are here’ maps, directional signposts, room name signs, wall signs and ceiling hung signs). If your sign maker cannot produce all the different signs you need, it complicates things enormously.

The other advantage is that if you ever need another type of sign manufacturing, the sign maker will have your previous designs on record and will already know the needs of your business.

Signage installation

It should go without saying that a company that manufactures your sign should also be able to install it for you – after all, they designed and built it. An experienced sign maker will know the legal requirements of where to place health and safety signs, will understand how to erect free-standing signs and have the expertise to install more complex signs, such as those that incorporate lighting.

Signs that come with a warranty

If you are investing in high-quality signage for your business, you want to make sure that the products you receive are guaranteed. The industry standard is to offer a 12 months’ warranty, so don’t accept anything less.

Excellent reputation

One of the advantages of the internet is that you no longer need to take what a company says about its services at face value. Today, you can find out what other customers think about them by checking out reviews online or on social media. Not every sign company has taken advantage of this yet, but if they have, take a look at their reviews before deciding if they are right for you.

Conclusion
As you can see, there are a lot of things to think about when choosing a sign maker for your organisation. Hopefully, the points we’ve raised here will help you make the best choice. However, if you are looking for a company that ticks all these boxes, ESP Signs will be happy to help you create the perfect signage. Visit our homepage to find out more, or check out our reviews on Facebook.

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How to Create Effective Wayfinding Signs in Schools

Schools are large, sprawling places that can be difficult to navigate; without good signage, those who are unfamiliar with the layout can easily get lost. The most effective way to help them reach their destination is to install wayfinding signs. In this post, we’ll look at the particular needs of schools and how they can create an effective wayfinding signage system.

Why schools need wayfinding signs
Schools, especially large secondaries, have complex layouts. They have several floors, long corridors going off at tangents and external blocks away from the main buildings. As schools have grown over the years, many now have extensions, sometimes more than one, that make the layout even more confusing. Within this space, there is a multitude of different areas that people will need to find: departments, classrooms, sports and assembly halls, drama and dance spaces, canteens and cafes, admin areas, IT suites, toilet blocks, caretaking stores, reprographic suites and learning resource centres.

The belief in most schools is that after a few weeks of the new intake arriving in September, most people will be familiar enough with the building not to need wayfinding signage. However, even for these people, there are potential issues: cleaners can be allocated new areas, teachers may need to attend meetings in other departments and pupils might have a classroom change. If these are in parts of the school with which people are unfamiliar, they may still get lost.

However, it’s not just permanent members of the school community that need to find their way around the building. Parents need to find teachers on parents’ evenings, supply teachers need to get to classrooms and tradespeople need to locate the places they are carrying out repairs or installing equipment. Ofsted inspectors, too, will want to find their way around easily.

Aside from finding places within the building, another important requirement is how to find the way out in the case of an emergency. Wayfinding signage is crucial in helping people get to the appropriate emergency exits and muster points.

Solutions for schools  
A school wayfinding system has to offer a practical solution that helps staff, pupils and visitors get to the places they want to be. To do this, it has to display the relevant information in a way that is easy to understand and which gives clear directions. Getting it right requires experienced, detailed planning and a thorough understanding of the way the school functions.

To achieve this, you will need to consider the flow of the school building and the places where people have to make navigational decisions, such as in foyers or at staircases and corridor junctions. Displaying information in the right places is essential if the system is to be effective and this may call for a range of different sign types to be installed, such as ‘You are Here’ maps, wall mounted signs, ceiling hung signs and, in external spaces, upright signposts.

The information included on a sign needs to be simple to understand, using universally recognised symbols where possible, and taking into account the needs of all users. It also has to be displayed in a clear and consistent way. Clear, so that it is easy to see, and consistent, so that it becomes obvious to everyone which signs are wayfinding signs. This means that all wayfinding signs should have the same design, use the same typeface and colouring and, where possible, have the same shape.

One of the specific difficulties for wayfinding signage in schools is that classroom and corridor walls are often full of posters, displays and other signs all vying for attention. With such a visual overload, it is important that wayfinding signage stands out from these; they should not, therefore, be surrounded by posters for the school play or notices about not running on corridors.

Another way to make a wayfinding sign more obvious and give it more authority is to add creative elements that reflect the school’s brand, for example, by incorporating the school colours and typeface. Doing this has the additional advantage of helping extend the brand identity throughout the school building and thus, reinforces the school’s values and mission.

Choice of materials
There is a range of different materials from which wayfinding signs can be manufactured, however, in high traffic areas like school corridors, it is helpful to choose materials which are robust, long lasting and can withstand the occasional prang or marker pen mauling. Acrylic signs are a good choice, as they are able to be produced in a wide range of colours, shapes, sizes and fonts. You can even incorporate images and the school logo onto your design.

Conclusion
Wayfinding signs help students and staff find their way around the complex design of many school buildings. Rather than getting lost and in a panic about being late, signs help them arrive on time, feeling less stressed – and this can have a positive impact on classroom behaviour. It also makes the school more user-friendly and welcoming for visitors and when the design incorporates the school’s branding, spreads that identity and the values it promotes throughout the entire building.

If you want assistance in creating a wayfinding system for your school check out our Wayfinding Signs page.

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school signs at Castle Hills Primary

The Benefits of Internal and External School Signs

Good signage can bring many benefits to a school. It can improve punctuality, increase safety, celebrate achievement and promote the school’s values and brand. In this post, we’ll look at these benefits in more detail and show you the different types of signage that are best used for each purpose.

Improving punctuality

Punctuality is important to schools because it cuts down the amount of learning time which is lost. However, in large schools, it can take children quite a while to get from one classroom to another. If the average time taken moving between lessons is five minutes, then over an academic year, that adds up to 81 hours of lost teaching time. That’s equivalent to over three weeks of lessons.

Delays in getting from A to B are often caused by poor traffic flow within the school, especially when there are narrow corridors or entrances that become bottlenecks. Children may know they need to walk on the left or take a particular route when leaving a room, but they don’t always follow it. The easy solution for this is to install signs which remind the children what to do.

Ceiling suspended wayfinding signs are one of the best options for reminding students which side of the corridor to use as they can be seen from above in a crowded space. Simple arrow signs with ‘This Way’ written on them can be placed at eye-level opposite the doors to classrooms to show them the direction they need to take.

Using these signs, corridor traffic jams are less likely and the resulting delays they cause can cease, helping everyone get the next lesson started earlier.

Another punctuality issue is that people get lost. New pupils and staff, supply teachers and visitors can find unfamiliar school layouts very confusing. Even those who have been there a while won’t be familiar with every room in every building. For this reason, the use of well-placed and easily readable wayfinding signs is critical. These can include ‘You are Here’ maps, external signposts, and signs which indicate which department or room people have arrived at.

Increase safety

Safeguarding is at the top of every school’s list of priorities and signage plays a key role in keeping pupils and staff safe. Installing the necessary health and safety signs is particularly important. These will be needed across the school, especially in areas where potentially hazardous equipment and materials are stored and used, such as in science, technology and PE departments. You also need to ensure that fire alarms, fire exits and muster points are clearly signposted and that every classroom and corridor has a sign which tells where the nearest fire exit, alarm and muster point is.

In addition to the health and safety signs that schools have an obligation to display, many schools require other forms of signage to ensure that their own rules are adequately displayed. Typical examples include, ‘Staff Only’, ‘No Entry’, ‘No Ball Games’ and ‘No Hot Food to be Taken Out’ signs. These signs may need to be installed both internally and externally.

Celebrate achievement and promoting events

One of the main ways schools celebrate achievement or promote events is by displaying a printed PVC vinyl banner near the entrance gate. This enables it to be seen by pupils, parents, visitors and anyone else who passes by. They are often used to proudly display, ‘Outstanding School’ or ‘Best Ever GCSE Results’. They are also used let people know about open evenings, school productions, summer fairs and other events. Available in any design and in a wide range of sizes and shapes, promotional banners are a great way to make a big impact on a small budget.

Promoting core values and brand

Many schools promote their core values by creating a highly visual representation of key words which is put on show in a prominent place. To emphasise their importance to the school, the values, such as humility, compassion, integrity, courage and determination are made into large displays, often featuring the colours and corporate typeface of the school.

Signage is one of the best ways to display these words. For example, they can be hung in the main entrance as a series of floor to ceiling vertical banners, they can be printed onto large flags, created using stunning flat cut or 3D built-up letters on specially designed backgrounds. They can even be illuminated.

Whilst instilling your values is critical inside your school, externally, it is important to promote the school’s brand. As 70% of business customers believe the quality of a store’s sign reflects the quality of its products, it’s just as feasible that a similar number of people believe a school’s sign reflects the quality of its education. If a school wants to be proud of its brand and wants to attract new students and the best staff, it’s crucial, therefore, to have a school sign that does a good job.

There is a wide range of choices for external school signs, though monolith signs are very popular because they can be created to feature important branding symbols like your school logo, motto, typeface and colours. They are also glossy and professional looking whilst being hardwearing and durable.

Summing up

Great signage can help schools in a variety of ways, reducing lost learning time, helping pupils to stay safe, letting the local community know about your achievements and events, and for promoting your core values and school brand. For each of these, there are different types of sign that can be chosen, giving you a choice that is best for your purposes and your budget.
For more information about the signs available, check out our product range.

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