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)

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.

(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)