Hotel Signage

Contemporary Trends in Hotel Signage and Wayfinding

As a leading designer and manufacturer of hospitality signs, we’ve seen a transformation in hotel signage over recent years. Innovations in computer design and manufacturing technologies, together with the development of new materials and LED illumination have raised expectations. Today, hotels want high-quality signs that promote the right brand image, have a strong visual impact and which communicate important messages effectively. Top of the list when it comes to making a choice are 3D built-up letters, illuminated LED signs and branded wayfinding signage systems.

Showing quality with 3D built-up letters

Quality is paramount for hotels; their success depends upon it. This includes everything from the standard of the accommodation, the range of facilities, the quality of its food and the level of service. When creating a quality hotel, first impressions count. Guests don’t want to be seen entering a hotel that doesn’t present itself well. So, aside from the impeccably neat exterior, one of the key features people will expect to see is a sign that exudes quality and hints at the exceptional experience that awaits them inside. A tired, shabby-looking sign isn’t going to have that effect – indeed, it may do just the opposite and drive customers away.

The current fashion for creating visually appealing, high-quality signs is to use 3D letters, alternatively known as built-up letters. These are signs of substance that give a hotel status and an air of exclusivity and prestige. Just like 2D flat cut letters, built up signs can be made from coloured acrylic or from metals such as titanium, stainless steel, copper and brass. Each of these is also available in a range of finishes, such as high gloss acrylic and polished or brushed metals. Perhaps more importantly, they can be created using the typeface of your choice and incorporate any other design feature you desire, such as a logo. This means it is possible to create a sign that presents your brand image just as you require and in any size you need. 3D signs can also be illuminated, a topic we’ll discuss in the next section.

Illuminated signage – a beacon, a presence and a warm welcome

Hotels operate 24 hours a day, which means you’ll have guests arriving at all hours. Good service starts by helping them to find you easily and one of the most effective ways to do this in the evening is to have an illuminated sign which can act as a beacon. Whether you are on a busy, city street or hidden away on a rural retreat, a lit-up sign can make life so much simpler and hassle-free for your guests.

LED lighting, which comes in a wide range of colours also makes it possible to create the warmest of welcomes. The colours and luminosity you choose for your illuminated sign can be used to create the most inviting of ambiences so that those arriving after long journeys, busy meetings or a night out begin to feel relaxed before they have even got through the door.

Illuminated signage also ensures that your hotel and branding have a continual presence, being highly visible to passers-by, including those at a distance. This can increase the attention people pay to your hotel so that when they need somewhere to stay in the future, they’ll remember your name and book a room.

Safe, power-efficient, long-lasting and virtually maintenance-free, LED devices can be incorporated into flat cut, built-up and fret cut signage. Available in a wide range of colours, they can present your brand image in spectacular style and in a way that is very eye-catching. They can even be animated or be programmed to change colours.

Branded wayfinding signage

Just as guests appreciate an external sign to help them locate the hotel, they also value signage that helps them find their way around once inside. During a stay, guests may need to find the reception, restaurants, spa facilities, the pool and gym, bars and conference rooms, as well as their room and those of their fellow travellers. This can be difficult, especially in large hotels where the various facilities are spread across numerous floors and where there is a complex layout with many long corridors.

To solve these problems, hotels are increasingly turning to wayfinding signage. A hotel wayfinding system offers a practical way to help guests and staff get to their desired location without getting lost on the way. It does this by displaying clear directions in a way that is easy to follow.

Getting the system to function correctly requires detailed planning and a comprehensive understanding of the way the hotel functions. Experienced signage makers will consider the traffic flow within the building and discover the places where guests need to make navigational decisions, such as in the lobby, at staircases and corridor junctions. It is then important to use the most effective sign type (e.g. wall signs and door signs) whilst ensuring their design fits in with the style and décor of the building. To be effective, this signage needs to be consistently designed so that guests can easily recognise a wayfinding sign.

Again, wayfinding signs can be made from a range of different materials and can incorporate different colours and typefaces. Many hotels are now including their logo on wayfinding signage as a way of extending the brand image throughout the entire hotel.

Conclusion

Hotel signage has moved forward considerably in recent years with an increased emphasis on branding and 24-hour visibility. Establishments want external signs that symbolise, in a glance, the quality of the hotel and its service and make potential guests think, ‘I want to stay there’. To achieve this, the trend has been to use 3D built-up lettering illuminated with LED lighting. Internally, the focus has been on making it easier for guests to find their way around and branded wayfinding systems have become the solution of choice.

For more information, visit our Restaurant and Hotel Signage page.

 

(0)

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.

 

(0)

7 Tips For Creating Effective Wayfinding Signs

Wayfinding signage is important to a lot of organisations. If you have large premises with a complicated layout or simply have visitors who don’t know their way around, wayfinding signs are the solution that helps people get to where they need to be without getting lost.

They help students get to class on time, patients make appointments and customers find the products or services they are looking for.

Putting together an effective wayfinding system, however, requires some thought and forward planning. To help you create a better system, here are seven tips for creating effective wayfinding signs.

  1. Design for the first-time visitor

The aim of a wayfinding system is to ensure that everybody can get to where they need to be. To ensure this happens, design your system for those who have never been to your premises before. To do this, you need to think like a visitor. What things would they be looking for? Where would they want to go? How would they try to navigate through the building?

  1. Survey your premises

Before making a wayfinding system, you need to have a complete and accurate record of where everything is. There are some premises where no single person has complete knowledge of the space and without a full overview, potentially important places are going to be absent from the system.

You also need to engage other people’s opinions about which places need to be included on the wayfinding system and which, if any, can be left off. For example, managers might not consider the boiler room a necessary inclusion, whereas the contractors sent to service it might find it very useful.

  1. Display signs at decision points

One of the key aspects of an effective wayfinding system is putting the signs in the right places. Generally, we are very good at finding things if we are travelling in a straight line: it is when that straight line deviates that we expect to find a sign to help us on the next part of the journey.

This usually means putting a sign at a place where we need to decide about which direction to go and, in most cases, these are at entrances, exits, staircases, lifts, crossroads, junctions and larger spaces where there are multiple exits each leading to different places.

  1. Maintain consistency

Wayfinding signs need to be recognised as such and should, therefore, all have the same design. This means using the same colours, shapes, fonts and symbols consistently so that people can spot them easily and know immediately that they are wayfinding signs.

Another important consistency feature is to ensure that all places are labelled according to their officially assigned names. This requires all places within a premises to be given an official name and for the use of that name to be encouraged by staff. The typical example of this is where building extensions are sometimes referred to as the ‘new block’ but have an official title that nobody uses. Someone sent to the ‘new block’ would have difficulty finding it when it was labelled as something else on the signage system.

  1. Display information succinctly

The best practice in creating an effective wayfinding system is to keep information limited to what is necessary. This means labelling the destination, pointing the direction and, if required, showing the distance or travelling time. Always aim to use the minimum number of words and where possible, e.g., for toilets, use universally understood symbols.

Keeping information to what is necessary ensures it is presented in a clean and precise way that is easy to follow. This is especially important if there are several signs, all for different places, placed next to each other.

  1. Giving distance and time information

Not all organisations will need to provide distance and/or time information but those with large or multiple buildings or which have outdoor spaces may find it helpful. Providing information about the distance to be travelled and the approximate time it can take to get from A to B can be particularly helpful in university campuses, theme parks, zoos, hospitals, transport hubs, holiday camps and so forth.

  1. Maintain up-to-date signage

Places change over time: rooms get reassigned for different uses and internal building work can mean some rooms and even routes disappear. As anyone who has ever used an out of date Ordnance Survey map will tell you, this can be very confusing. To prevent confusion amongst your visitors and staff, make regular checks of your premises and ensure that any changes that might affect the wayfinding system are notified to the person responsible for its maintenance.

Conclusion

When properly designed to meet your needs, wayfinding signs can bring many benefits to your organisation. They cut down on wasted time and missed appointments, improve customer satisfaction, reduce confusion and stress, and help people find the products and services they want quickly and easily. Hopefully, the seven tips provided here will help your organisation design a more effective wayfinding system that is truly fit for purpose.

For more information, visit our Wayfinding Signs page.

(0)

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.

(0)

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.

(0)

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.

(0)
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.

(0)

Guide to Using Wayfinding Signs

Whether you’re a store, a school, an outdoor centre or any other organisation, it’s important that the people who visit your premises are able to find their way around. The best way to help them do this is through the installation of wayfinding signs. However, before commencing installation, here is some advice that will help you make the most of your signage.

Basic rules for wayfinding signs

Wayfinding signs inform people in an unfamiliar environment about where they are and how to get to the places they need to be. To make wayfinding signs successful, they need to be part of a wayfinding system that it strategically designed to help them navigate complicated layouts.
More than this, though, you also need to think about the way people behave when finding their whereabouts in new places and there are three basic rules that you should consider when setting up a wayfinding system, these are:

  1. Signs should not have to make visitors work things out for themselves. Instead, they should provide a clear and comprehensive system of navigation that is consistent throughout the premises.
  2. Wayfinding signs should be concise and to the point, giving only the information that is needed. Motorway signs, for example, usually inform you of the next major town, but they won’t list all the towns that follow.
  3. In order to ensure that essential information is communicated in a clear way, any extraneous elements should be avoided – this is why many wayfinding signs for toilets use the universally recognisable toilet symbol but don’t have the word ‘toilet’ written on them.

Developing your wayfinding system

When developing your own wayfinding system, there are a number of factors that you should consider. The first of these is the key landmarks on your premises that visitors are likely to remember and can use to help create their mental map of their surroundings. These may include entrances, receptions, stand out architectural features, permanent art displays and various other features. Creating wayfaring signs that reference these places or using these as places to locate signs can make navigation much easier.
Orientation is another important factor. Many large environments like shopping centres and parks, for example, have maps with a ‘You are here’ sign which help visitors get an understanding of where they are in relation to everywhere else. In smaller areas, it can be important to use signs to state the current location as this will help visitors navigate from place to place or landmark to landmark. In large environments, it can also be useful to show distances or travelling times to places being pointed to.
Finally, remember to incorporate directional navigation, with signs that use arrows or are pointed in shape.

Types of wayfinding sign

When developing a wayfinding system, there are four different types of sign you can use, each with a different function.

  • Identification signs are used to identify specific locations. In supermarkets, we often see these hung from the roof so that customers can find their way to particular kinds of products. In schools, they are often placed at the entrances to departments and rooms. They also include signs to identify specific facilities, such as a reception.
  • Directional signs are used to point people in the direction of a location. These can be placed on walls or fixed to signposts and are usually strategically placed.
  • Information signs are used to give more detailed information, such as opening times and visitor instructions.

Warning signs are an important element of a wayfinding system, for example, helping people know where to find a fire escape, showing that smoking is not permitted and preventing entry to staff only areas.

Using the right typeface

When choosing a typeface for your wayfinding signs, it is important that it is easy to read, with well-proportioned lettering and reasonable line spacing. Ideally, you should choose a sans serif type with clearly obvious ascenders and descenders.

Designing the signs

A good sign is clearly visible against its background, easy to read and in a size that enables it to be read at the distances required.
When designing a wayfinding system to be used throughout a premises, the most important attribute is consistency. If all the signs have a similar design, visitors quickly begin to recognise them as wayfinding signs. Without consistency, people get confused and, consequently, lost. To maintain consistency, use the same sign shape, iconography, typeface and colours.

Summing up

As you can see from this article, if you are using multiple wayfinding signs, it’s important to create a wayfinding system that visitors can quickly understand. In a sense, its similar to the system of road signs we follow when driving. To be successful, your system needs to have a consistency of design, a clarity of message and an understanding of the most appropriate locations within your premises to strategically place the signs.

(0)