In the sign industry, we know that each sign type has their own unique important function to play in the role of a business. Some signs help provide landmarks that people then use to identify where a business or facility is located at. Others help highlight the function of the business and what services and products the business offers. Some signs are more temporary and help illuminate any ongoing sales or changes in hours. Together all of these signs in tandem are meant to help promote a business, to help encourage customers to visit, to encourage sales, and to leave a familiar mark in the mind of the consumers the next time they see the business’s signage.
Anecdotal evidence as to their effectiveness is important of course, and we’ve spoken previously about how to measure such success; however, we also like to delve into research that explores the benefits of signage further. In a paper by assistant professors Ms. Vishakha Joseph and Mr. Atul Parak, they look across an array of existing literature on the subject of promotional signage to better understand the effects on promotional signage on customer behavior.
According to the authors of the study, “Visual merchandising is a key aspect of retail marketing that focuses on the design and presentation of a store’s merchandise and environment to attract and engage customers. Signage plays an essential role in visual merchandising, as it communicates important information to customers, creates a cohesive brand image, and helps guide customers through the store.”
They go on to explain that promotional signage, “can be in the form of posters, banners, or displays” that are placed in front of customers at various positions in or around the store. These signs can also help share information that the business would like the customer to see.
Their conclusion is that, “Promotional signage has a significant positive impact on consumer behavior, including increasing purchase intention and sales. The design and placement of promotional signage are crucial factors that determine its effectiveness.”
Though the authors suggest more research is needed to more fully determine the impact of such signage, and how variability may change its effectiveness, this is already a positive look at the use of promotionals signage in a business and its ability to affect consumers behavior.
As the leaves begin to turn, and the first snap of the cold begins to make its way in the wind, pumpkin spice and warm coffee is on the mind of many. For us as a sign company this means we’ve spent much of the summer helping coffee shops ensure they are ready for the Fall crowds, by servicing lighting and signs, and also helping provide branding and signage for existing and new coffee shops alike.
In this article, we want to highlight some of the many sign types that are often incorporated into coffee shops, in the hopes that we may provide any present or future coffee shop owners an idea of how to make your business stand apart and also feel welcoming.
Exterior Signs for Cafés
Perhaps what matters most for all businesses are the signs that adorn the front of the building, for these are the signs that essentially say ‘here we are’ to any passersby and potential customers. Depending on the property you own you may be locked into a certain sign type by your landlord, a common agreement we’ve discussed here; however, if you have flexibility you may consider channel letters, pan faces, or if you have a standalone building or a drive-thru a blade sign.
Channel Letters are defined as sign that consists of three-dimensionals letter that may include a light source. Channel Letters are perhaps the most frequently used sign type for business facades, as they are functional, often preferred by property managers, and allow the incorporation of a brand’s logo, color, and design.
Pan Faces are defined as a plastic sign face molded into a three-dimensional shape. Pan Faces may be second only to Channel Letters in their popularity, as they are an affordable option that likewise allows for brand customization for a businesses signage.
Blade Signs as defined the Sign Research Foundation are a type of projecting sign mounted such that the face of the sign is perpendicular to the flow of traffic.
Now these are all excellent examples of common, and effective, sign types that cafés and restaurants use to identify a business.
Temporary Signage for Cafés
We should now discuss the various types of temporary signs that cafés use to highlight their hours, showcase specials, or highlight seasonal beverages such as the beloved pumpkin spice coffee options we see every Fall.
Banner Signs are signs that are composed of lightweight material; often used in a non-permanent setting, such as to announce a grand opening, sale, or special event. These are often placed on the building itself; however, they may also be placed depending on your municipal code on pylon signs, monument signs, or other structures.
Flag Signs are similar to banner signs in that they are often composed of lightweight material, and likewise may be used in a non-permanent setting. However their name comes from their unique shape which is often similar to a feather, and they are often placed on a sidewalk in front of the business to quickly identify a name or feature of the shop. For instance a popular flag sign for a coffee shop might has a graphic that looks like liquid coffee, or coffee beans, and the text would simple say ‘COFFEE’.
Sandwich Boards or Sidewalk Signs
Sandwich Boards (Sidewalk Signs) are signs that are not secured or attached to the ground or surface upon which it is located, but supported by its own frame, which is typically in the shape of an A. These signs are frequently used to highlight specials of the day, hours, or other timely announcements. There may be stipulations to the distance, and time, that these signs may be in place, so confer with your local municipal codes or ask the expertise of your local sign company such as Ortwein Sign to learn more.
Interior Signage for Cafés
Cafés often have as many signs in the interior of their business as they do on the outside, and these signs each serve their own purpose that complement the overall mission of the business. Here we breakdown four common types of signs that you will often see in restaurants and cafés in particular.
Menu Boards are signs that display for customers the various menu items that are on offer at a cafe or restaurant. Though traditionally menu signs have been analog, using paper, or chalk, for rotating menus. More and more menu boards have gone digital, as restaurant and cafe owners have embraced the ease with which they can adjust the display, as well as its ability to better display photos of the drinks and food items available to patrons.
Logo and Statement Signs
Though many restaurants may have a logo on display in their restaurant, cafés have gone above and beyond by making their logo, and often their slogan, an Instagram or Tik Tok worthy attraction for patrons to photograph. Often these are LED signs; however, we at Ortwein Sign have also fabricated real neon signs in-house for businesses as well, which offer lighting and ambience as well as a centerpiece for photos or selfies in the café itself.
Wall Art and Environmental Graphics
Cafés are known for their ambience, and a component of the success is through the art and graphics that are implemented on the walls. Whether these graphics feature local artiss, local settings, or perhaps more generic coffee or cafe items, they help cafés stand out and feel all the more cozy for those in the establishment.
In the past couple of years the use of digital kiosks have taken off, and though not every establishment or cafe chooses to implement these, more and more they provide customers a contactless way to order food while also seeing the myriad of choices up close and personal, as well as photographs of the food items they are browsing through.
Cafés and restaurants incorporate a significant amount of signage, perhaps more than you might have realized; however, we hope we have shown not only the types of signage on offer to cafés and restaurants, but also their uses and how they help engage with patrons to provide a better, more positive experience for the customer.
Signage is a crucial component of one’s business plan and marketing and brand strategy, and thus its important to give it the full consideration it deserves. After all it’s an essential component of your overall marketing strategy, as it helps passersby and customers recognize your brand, find your business, and ideally encourages them to shop at your business. If you’re working with an expert sign business such as Ortwein Sign, we’ll put all of our skills into designing, fabricating, and installing your sign to ensure its the most effective it can be for your business.
Even so you may still want to look at the ROI of your signage, to truly assess how your signage helps your business goals, whether that means more foot traffic, higher sales, or increased brand visibility. In this guide, we’ve broken down ways that you can measure the ROI of your signage.
First of all before calculating your ROI, you must define your aims and goals with your signage. By understanding your goal you’ll know what metrics you need to calculate and assess to identify success.
Calculate Foot Traffic to Your Business
Perhaps you want to drive traffic to your business in certain hours, or at an increased rate overall. If for instance you want to increase foot traffic by 20%, then you’ll need to have the means to measure your clientele. You might need counters by the door, surveillance that assists, or perhaps you’ll need to manually count the number of visitors coming into your store.
Track Sales Before and After Signage Is Installed/Refreshed
If you’re looking at measuring the rate of sales, and hoping for an increase after the addition of signage, or signage refresh, then you’ll want to look at your sales before your signage is installed and after your signage.
Customer Surveys Provide Qualitative Data
Customer surveys can also assist you determine the effectiveness of your signage. You can query your customers on whether your signage drew them into your store, whether it impacted their purchasing decisions, and if you’re using signage to promote a sale or promotion whether they noticed and/or remembered that promotion from your signage.
Promotions, Sales, and Coupon Codes and Signs
If you are using signage to promote a specific sale, promotion, or item, you can track the mentions of said promotions or in the case of a coupon code track the uses of said coupon.
Tracking Signage Engagement with Website Analytics
Even if you have a brick and mortar business that you work out of, you may want to drive traffic to your website. By using signage you can implement this strategy, and with the advent of QR codes in particular you are able to track the engagements with these codes. Therefore you can implement these in your business, and look at your web traffic to confirm the number of times a QR code was scanned and thus drove traffic to the site or page you directed people to.
Social Media and Signage
Similarly you can either use QR codes to direct customers in your store to your social media, or you can use hashtags on signs, or use statement signs that customers will want to take pictures of, and you can track the posts and engagement online across a myriad of existing social media platforms.
You may be hoping to increase your brand awareness with your signage, in which case through surveys, and social media and website traffic analysis, you can get a better picture if your brand profile and familiarity increased and improved after the addition of signage.
Comparative Analysis of Signage
To do a comparative analysis of your signage, you will want to compare the cost of signage installation and maintenance against the revenue generated as a direct result of the signage. Calculate the ROI by dividing the net profit (revenue generated from signage minus signage costs) by the signage costs.
Consider the Timing and Time Frame
Remember that though your signage may seem dramatically different from one day to the next, if you’re installing entirely new branding, or refreshing signage, that its impact may take time. So consider the length of time too that you should calculate the effects of signage, as it may impact the results of your analysis.
A/B Testing of Business Signage
Though it’s not practical for all businesses, especially with permanent signage, if you have the opportunity you may want to consider A/B testing your signage to determine its comparative effectiveness. If this isn’t practical but you do implement temporary signage as part of your brand strategy and marketing, then perhaps implement A/B testing with this signage instead.
Call the Experts at Ortwein Sign
If perhaps this is too complex, or you simply do not have the time to fully assess your signage ROI, let us help. We use our expertise day in and day out to provide the best signage for our clients to fully capitalize on your branding and marketing to boost the objectives you want to help your business succeed.
Many people often conflate ADA regulations and ADA signage with signs that simply need Braille, and though it’s just a small component of ADA signage we did feel it important enough to take a moment to delve into Braille, its history, and how and when it is needed in ADA signage.
Despite popular belief Braille itself is not a language. Instead Braille uses a system of 63 dot patterns with 2 columns and 3 rows where dots can be placed. The different patterns of dots vary to identify different numbers, letters, punctuation marks, attributes, and more.
“In uncontracted braille, every word is spelled out. Contracted braille is a “shorthand” version where common words are abbreviated, much like “don’t” is a shorter version of “do” and “not.” Most children learn uncontracted braille before they learn the contracted version.”
According to the International Sign Association, a tactile sign is “a sign, or an area within a larger sign or area, which conveys its message through raised or engraved artwork, making it accessible to the visually impaired. Required by A.D.A. for all permanently identified rooms.”
What specifications must be met for the Braille to be ADA Compliant?
According to Access-Board.gov, “Braille dots shall have a domed or rounded shape and shall comply with Table 703.3.1. The indication of an uppercase letter or letters shall only be used before the first word of sentences, proper nouns and names, individual letters of the alphabet, initials, and acronyms.
Braille shall be positioned below the corresponding text. If text is multi-lined, braille shall be placed below the entire text. Braille shall be separated 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) minimum from any other tactile characters and 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) minimum from raised borders and decorative elements.
EXCEPTION: Braille provided on elevator car controls shall be separated 3/16 inch (4.8 mm) minimum and shall be located either directly below or adjacent to the corresponding raised characters or symbols.”
When The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 passed, the act helped codify federal requirements to help increase access to all persons in public buildings. If you are a property developer, property manager, or business owner, then these requirements very likely impact your business’s signage and what you need to do to with your signage to ensure your building meets or exceeds these accessibility standards. In this blog we will discuss whether your building qualifies as a public space, and if so what you need to know to ensure your signage is compliant.
According to ADA.gov, Commercial Buildings on the other hand, such as warehouses, factories, and office building, only need to meet the requirements of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
Does a church or a religious organization need to be ADA compliant?
According to the Department of Justice and Section 307 of the ADA, “Religious organizations and entities controlled by religious organizations have no obligations under the ADA. Even when a religious organization carries out activities that would otherwise make it a public accommodation, the religious organization is exempt from ADA coverage.”
What are the specific signage requirements according to the ADA for public buildings?
In the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, signage is broken down into the following categories:
In our blog Wayfinding Systems: Solutions Through Signage, we define directional signs as: “Directional signs show the direction or location of the destination to be directed by visitors. These signs are an explicit navigation tool. They are expected to make visitors more efficient and comfortable in an environment.”
In the same blog, we define an Information Sign as a sign that conveys “specifics and detailed information, with the sign form being adjusted to the information that is to be conveyed.”
According to the International Sign Association, a tactile sign is “a sign, or an area within a larger sign or area, which conveys its message through raised or engraved artwork, making it accessible to the visually impaired. Required by A.D.A. for all permanently identified rooms.”
Are there specific sign exceptions within ADA Compliance?
Yes. Though many signs must be ADA compliant, there are some signs that are excluded such as:
Seat and Row designations in assembly areas
Company names and logos
Signs in parking facilities
Temporary signs (7 days or less)
Detention and correctional facility signage in public use areas
Exterior signs that are not located at the door to the space they serve
What signs are required to be ADA compliant?
Though there are some exceptions, there are many sign types that are required to be ADA compliant:
Interior and exterior signs identifying permanent rooms and spaces
Directional and Information Signs
Signs that provide direction to or information about interior spaces and facilities of the site
Signs for means of egress
Signs that provide areas of refuge
Signs that provide directions to accessible means of egress
Directional signs indicating the location of the nearest toilet room or bathing room
Entrance and Exit Signage
Doors at exit passageways, exit discharge, and exit stairways
Entrances that must comply require identification with the International Symbol of Accessibility
Elevators that must comply must be identified with the International Symbol of Accessibility
Toilet rooms or bathing rooms that need to comply must be identified by the International Symbol of Accessibility
Identification and directional signs for public TTYs
Public TTYs shall be identified by the International Symbol of TTY
Each gathering space that provides assistive listening systems must provide signage informing patrons of the availability of said system
What are TTYs?
According to ADA.gov, TTYs “is an abbreviation for teletypewriter. Machinery that employs interactive text-based communication through the transmission of coded signals across the telephone network. TTYs may include, for example, devices known as TDDs (telecommunication display devices or telecommunication devices for deaf persons) or computers with special modems. TTYs are also called text telephones.”
What are the Universal Symbols of Accessibility?
The Universal Symbols of Accessibility help identify points of access as well as access to services. Most famously these symbols include the International Symbol of Access.
During the pandemic businesses across the globe were hit with supply chain issues and increased inflation. Though our supply chain issues have been largely mitigated, thanks to the reopening of states and countries post-pandemic, we are still dealing with inflation even as the Fed tries to combat it with increased rates. This can impact different businesses and industries across the world, but we wanted to highlight in particular how it has affected manufacturing in America.
Supply Chain Issues and Lingering Inflation
Again these supply chain challenges have somewhat been diminished in 2023 thankfully; however, the lingering impacts can still be felt as supply and demand forces continue to push and pull. At first there was a drastic drop in demand for manufacturing products, as projects were canceled or delayed and businesses prepared for losses of income due to this drop. Once states and countries started to return to some semblance of normalcy, and pandemic rescue funds began flowing to companies and individuals alike, demand began to spike for products such as wood, metal, and other manufacturing goods.
What happened at this point though is that many companies had not been producing these materials to the same extent due to the lack of demand. Likewise companies like China, who had a much longer, more severe lockdown than most countries, were primary providers to companies across the world, and thus there were incredibly long delays for their goods. Thus prices began to spike, and since companies needed the materials and had more cash, they were willing to pay those higher prices. This is in effect what drives inflation, and so the costs of materials continued to increase. This is parallel with what was happening with consumer goods as well.
Supply chains have balanced out once again, though some have shifted for better, and for worse, but no longer do we see such incredible delays for products, goods, and materials anymore.
As such we wanted to highlight some of the areas that are most concerning to manufacturers now, and what continues to impact the industry and its pricing for all variety of manufactured products.
Hiring and Retaining Workers in a Hot Labor Market
At the start of the pandemic many of the most-at-risk workers were the doctors and nurses of course, but also included among them were the service industry workers, and essential industry employees, who day in and day out would continue working throughout much of the lockdowns.
As the risk lingered on, and companies struggled for employees, higher wages became standard for some businesses. On a micro level this is incredible for people looking for wages to support their families. On a macro level this can still be a positive; however, it also can further increase inflation as employers earn more money to spend on products, while also leading employees to move out of low-wage industries or low-wage jobs for higher wages. The shift in workers impacted some industries in particular, such as service and retail, and these shortages helped slow down the delivery of some goods. Even industries not as directly impacted though still had to raise wages to compete, and for manufacturing companies some of those raises could impact costs of services.
More recently the work of the Fed to increase interest rates appears to have cooled down the labor market somewhat; however, it’s still a gradual process and one that must be planned delicately so as to not tilt the country into a recession. What will result from these interest rate hikes ultimately is yet to be seen as of this writing.
However even an existing fleet of vehicles can impact a business, as the cost of repairs is not light either. Especially when running a business, such as a manufacturing company, where materials may need to be moved or installed with an existing fleet, those costs can add up.
One positive we have seen, though it can and has fluctuated, in manufacturing in particular is that we have witnessed the cost of certain products such as wood and steel largely returning to lower, pre-pandemic prices.
Cost of Fuel: Still High
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration the average cost of retail gasoline prices bottomed out at the start of the Great Recession and at the start of the pandemic only to then climb dramatically in the months since. Thus the price reached its peak height of 5.05 per gallon in June 2022, and though it’s gone down since it’s still higher than it has been since 2015. Fuel costs can have an impact not just on workers, who have to commute to their jobs, but also on the businesses truck costs. Even if they’re using a third party company to handle shipping these added fuel costs will often be passed on to the business.
What’s Next for Manufacturing
Currently as of this writing the debt ceiling debate lingers large on the economy. Whether America defaults may have a substantial impact on our economy.
In addition to that though we also have high interest rates, set by the Federal Reserve to lower borrowing, and we have continued international uncertainty with the war in Ukraine, the strained relationship with China, and always the potential for uncertainty around the world.
On the more positive side, for manufacturing in particular, there’s been a boost over the last two administrations to make products in America in a way that’s not been the case in generations. With recent bipartisan bills such as the CHIPS act, the revised NAFTA agreement, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the focus has been on prioritizing American industry and workers. This hopefully will have a positive impact on manufacturing and on the country as a whole.
As anyone who’s been to a UT Vols football game can tell you (or an Alabama game if you prefer), there’s no excitement like that feeling you get when you’re in your seats, cheering on your team, and if you’re having a good day – seeing your team win. What’s not always as fun is trying to arrive at the stadium, as the crowds can be overwhelming, parking is often a mess, and if its your first time you might be quite lost on how to get where you need to go. You certainly don’t want to miss kick-off right? Fortunately that’s where signage comes in. Whether you’re attending a Major League Soccer game in Nashville, a Major League Baseball game in Atlanta, a college football game, or any other sports event, you may not realize how much you truly rely on signage, as do the venues and teams themselves.
Perhaps the most crucial signage you need as a fan is wayfinding signage. Wayfinding signage includes everything from parking lot signs telling you where you need to go, and for after the game where you parked, along with signs directing you to different seat sections in the sports arena. Even after you’ve found your seats signs can help you find the bathrooms, the concession stands, and the merch booths.
Electronic Signs and Scoreboards
One sign you’ll encounter at many indoor and outdoor sports event, that for some is becoming increasingly more obvious, is the importance of digital signage and scoreboards. Scoreboards have not always been digital, but they’ve always been an important way of conveying the score to anyone who’s needing to know, along with other key details. Back in the day these could be changed out by hand, but now they’re run by sophisticated digital LED displays which allow for quicker, easier changes. Many of these digital displays also help with the entertainment between innings or plays, i.e. kiss cams, fan catches, and a myriad of other traditions unique to each team.
Advertisements and Marketing
Now these messages may not be a fan’s favorite, but undoubtedly for teams looking to capitalize on their audience, digital displays, wall graphics, murals, and many other types of signs, help allow them to sell space or time to make money by displaying advertisements. Of course these are also used for marketing of the team itself, as they can highlight announcements for future games, or events taking place in the stadium, and also reminders to buy more concessions and shop for more merch.
4. Signage On the Road
Everything we’ve covered thus far pertains largely to the facilities where sports teams play. Yet signage doesn’t just stop and start at the stadium. Teams want to make themselves known as they travel, and that often includes wraps for their tour buses, as exemplified here by one of the Chattanooga Red Wolves touring buses. These wraps can serve as moving marketing machines for the team, as they hope to garner attention and fans even well beyond the city they’re based out of.
Recently our Marketing Specialist took a trip to New York City, and of course had to see all of the signage in Time Square. Everywhere you look there are signs from the sides of buses, kiosks in and outside of stores, and of course most famously the large digital screens showcasing ads that are truly larger than life!
Times Square in the Early Days
According to TimesSquareNYC.com, Times Square was originally known as Long Acre. While it was home to William H. Vanderbilt’s “American Horse Exchange”, aside from that and a few apartments, it wasn’t obvious of the future that lay ahead for this part of NYC.
Times Square Gets Its Name
That started to change when Adolph S. Ochs, American newspaper publisher and former owner of The New York Times and The Chattanooga Times (now the Chattanooga Times Free Press), decided to build the TImes Tower. The Spring before the building’s construction was completed, the 2nd larges in NYC at the time, “Mayor George B. McClellan signed a resolution that renamed the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue from Long Acre Square to Times Square.”
Fun fact: New Years Eve’s Times Square celebrations began after “Ochs staged the first event to commemorate the new building and crowds still gather today to bring in the new year.”
Times Square Evolves
From the 1960s on, Times Square began to develop a reputation as the seedy center of NYC, and theaters of all varieties cropped up on the square. Signage was largely developed to advertise these businesses and their shows at that time. Zoning was also often ignored at this time, which led to a wild west-like environment for businesses, signage, and more.
From Neon to LED
SignsoftheTimes.com in their article on Times Square signage, they state “1996, Morgan Stanley’s installation of a three-tiered message center, built by Daktronics (Brookings, SD), created a new signature look for digital signage in Times Square by introducing LED-lit signage and video displays.”
Future of Times Square
Times Square’s present and its future planning now greatly contrasts with the time from the period from the Great Depression on the the 90s. Now, according to timessquarenyc.org’s Vision of Times Square, they have a specific vision and tenets they hope Times Square can be including:
a hub that captures and celebrates our culture, in every sense of that word: our artistic and creative culture, our popular culture, our diverse cultures.
a vibrant and democratic public space that exemplifies the civic, cultural and commercial life of our city, and of all great urban places.
a place by, of and for New Yorkers, that we can then share proudly with the rest of the world.
(Part 1 of our series Planes, Trains, & Parking Garages: A Guide to Signage and Transit)
Airports are some of the busiest places in the world with thousands of passengers, and in the case of airports like Atlanta hundreds of thousands of passengers, arriving and departing through their gates each day. This isn’t even including all the employees who make these airports run, including everyone from the flight crew, to the TSSA safety attendants, to the staff who keep the airport property and all its services running. It’s no surprise then that signage plays an essential role in how an airport functions, from the essential wayfinding signage that gets travelers where they need to go, to the electronic signs and kiosks that many interact with to check-in and to find their flights, to the graphics and murals that provide a sense of place and often a welcoming message to the city where passengers are arriving and departing. In this part 1 of three of “Planes, Trains, & Parking Garages: A Guide to Signage and Transit” we breakdown signs’ importance in the airport industry.
Art, Graphics, & Murals
Travel can be disorienting for many, whether you’re a first time flyer or a seasoned business pro, and one of the ways airports can make you feel at home when you’re miles away is to show you a sense of place.
Airports often achieve this through signage promoting the locale you’re in, and also through signs with messages specifically welcoming you to the airport, the city, and perhaps the country for international airports, that you’ve arrived in.
Perhaps one of the most essential signs at airports for passengers are the digital displays that are setup at each gate, at check-in, and at luggage pick-up, highlighting the progress of flights. “On Time”, “Delayed”, and “Canceled” are some of the most important words and phrases one needs to check for when flying, and to be able to see this quickly and easily is crucial.
Thankfully the development of electronic technology, through TVs and display screens, has made this a significantly easier process than in the past to implement. This is why these displays are pretty much ubiquitous at nearly every airport throughout the world.
Before touchless technology really started taking off, such as QR codes and mobile apps, kiosks and self-service stations became the go to mode for people to more quickly, and ideally with less lines, accomplish what they needed.
At airports, kiosks are often sources of quick information, whether it’s a kiosk with a visual map or guide, or the kiosks setup at check-in which allow for boarding passes to be printed. Even as boarding passes go mobile, kiosks can still be set up to scan QR codes on apps, should passengers prefer a printed boarding pass for their flight.
4. Directional and Informational Signage
Aside from the digital displays, the only signage perhaps matching in importance in airports is the directional and informational signs that guide you to where you need to go along with the signs identifying where you’ve arrived at. In particular, wayfinding systems that help passengers find their gates are especially crucial. Whether you have time to leisurely stroll, or you’re rushing to catch your flight, these signs are what get you to where you need to go.
Long gone are the days of the one room schoolhouse, where students of all ages sat in one space to learn. Now even smaller schools, and especially colleges and universities, are becoming sprawling campuses, where finding your way around is becoming more and more of a necessity and a struggle simultaneously.
Signage is therefore crucial for visitors, students, teachers, and staff alike, to know where they are, where they need to go, and in some cases where they shouldn’t be. In this blog post we breakdown the different ways schools, colleges, and universities use signs, and the different types of signage that helps schools satisfy their wayfinding needs.
Wayfinding Signage in Elementary School, Middle School, and High School
When you think of schools most often you’re thinking of primary and secondary schools. Though there’s often a level of routine, especially for elementary and middle schools, as to what students, faculty, and staff do each day, wayfinding systems can help new students, staff, and faculty members orient themselves faster and more easily.
Likewise should visitors arrive, be it for an open house, a family visitation day, or other special events, these signs will help direct visitors where to go and not to go.
In the case of an emergency too, these signs will be relied upon to help faculty and staff lead their students through any protocols that may be in place.
Signs for Colleges and Universities
Colleges and Universities often have the same needs as elementary, middle, and high schools, but on a grander scale. Students are also often freer to roam without permission, or a guide, and thus rely increasingly on wayfinding systems.
Even with a comprehensive tour, no doubt most students on their first day feel a sense of disorientation, and with the help of these directional and wayfinding signs they will find their classes and overtime get the hang of their new surroundings.
Dorms and Residence Halls
Aside from a small selection of secondary schools, dorms and residence halls are often unique to colleges and universities. These require signage similar, if not precisely like, other apartment and residential complexes, and these can include everything from visiting hour signs, to room #’s, to rules in public spaces like laundry rooms or other common areas.
Likewise the average primary and secondary school does not have a food court, and while some colleges and universities only have cafeterias serving their own food, many also include franchises be it Taco Bell, Starbucks, or other known food and beverage businesses.
These are not always regulated in the same way as a franchise; however, these businesses do often have their own rules for signage, and they will need to be taken into account too for school management and the sign companies who work on these projects.
Electronic Message Centers
Thus far we’ve discussed primarily wayfinding signage; however, monument signs, pylon signs, and other exterior signs play an important role as well in both welcoming people and marketing news, events, or the school’s values to the public.
One tool that’s become increasingly essential for delivering these messages is the use of electronic message centers. These can be placed either on a monument sign or a pylon sign, depending on the school’s preference and permit allowability through the local municipality.
Campus Curb Appeal
Though many primary and secondary schools students are zoned to these schools, even they, along with private schools, colleges and universities, must consider how signage can help with the overall ‘curb appeal’ of the school.
Curb appeal quite simply is the look and feel of a place as it appears when walking or driving by said place, and for schools that especially have to recruit students this can be a major component of a student’s first impression of a school and especially its campus.
Signs play an integral component here, and Electronic Message Centers can help, but also road banners around the campus, or on main drives through the campus, along with vinyl signage on exterior windows that help brand the school.
ADA Signage is a crucial component with all wayfinding signage in all schools, as it is required in any public building or institution. Schools more and more are ensuring that they are fully accessible places, and even without government mandates they turn to ADA signage specs to ensure they fulfill their own mission to be fully inviting and open.
ADA signage isn’t simply just about putting braille on a sign as well, so it’s important to work with a sign company who understands what goes into ADA and can fabricate ADA signs for your needs.