Wayfinding Wonders: Crafting Interior Signage Experiences in Museums

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to go to a museum as grand as The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET), then you know how expansive museums can be and how important it is to know where you’re at and to know how to get where you want to go. Signage is a crucial component of this wayfinding journey as it helps inform you where you are, where you want to go, where you cannot go, and just as importantly how to get out in the case of an emergency In this blog, we’ll discuss how wayfinding is an essential component of the museum experience, and we’ll discuss the types of wayfinding signage you’ll see in a wonderfully developed wayfinding system.

Environmental Graphics and Murals

Museums each have their own style and their own focus, and so it’s important for signage to reflect that. Not only does it help with branding, but it also helps provide a sense of place. That’s why environmental graphics and murals are so often incorporated into the interior space of a museum. These graphics can reflect the most famous artwork in the museum, or present and future exhibitions, or in the case of some museums these interior graphics and murals can be the very art themselves that is being shown off to patrons.

Banners and Temporary Signage

British Museum
British Museum

Museums are often known for their vaulted ceilings, as some of the art they may contain can be on an enormous scale. Therefore its quite common for museums to have the space to have sizeable exterior and interior signage that showcases the art inside the museum. This often comes in the form of temporary, or seasonal, signage such as banners. It is a common practice to use these types of banners in particular when promoting both current exhibitions and future exhibitions. These banners can also be used long term for permanent exhibitions, especially if the banner is designed to match the frequently rotating banners in design tyle.

Placards, Placques, and Identifying Signs

Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and Nashville Souvenirs
Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and Nashville Souvenirs

Museums may hold anywhere from dozens of art pieces to thousands, and even though some are famous and easily identifiable by nearly all, each art piece will have an identifying sign such as a placard or plaque below or beside the piece of art. These wayfinding signs inform the visitors of the art’s name (if it has one), often its year of creation, its creator of known, and perhaps even other information such as its place of origin or material make-up. While the art in many ways may speak for itself, these placques help inform you of the story of the arts creation in one way or the other.

Especially in an exhibit for a featured artist, or for a significant piece, there may be sizeable signs beside the art as well that tell even more of the story. These signs may include quotes from the artist, an insight into the history of the time or the piece itself, or perhaps sign a light on what the artist’s life was like. There’s certainly no end to how these signs may be used, and museums may each find their own indepent uses for how they like to incorporate such wayfindign informational signs around their art pieces on display.

Digital Kiosks

Increasingly museums look for new ways to provide engaging and entertaining experiences for visitors of all ages and one such tool to help them achieve this is in the form of digital kiosks. Digital kiosks can help provide wayfinding information as well as helpful information of all sorts on the exhibits, the museum itself, and more. Many of these kiosks can also be utilized to include audio and visual experiences including for those with auditory or visual impairments.

ADA Signage

ADA is an integral component of wayfinding signage and it is essential in public buildings and public spaces. To many laypersons, ADA signage seems to consist simply of signs with braille; however, as our in-house Ortwein Sign ADA experts can attest there’s a lot more to it than that as ADA signage guidelines include requirements on readability, placement of the signs, font styles, and more.

Museums regardless of size will often need a variety of ADA signs to complement their wayfinding system. This includes signage in the case of emergencies, signage identifying permanent room uses, including bathrooms, signage that identifies tools for accessibility and more. By utilizing these effectively you not only ensure you are in compliance but you also help broaden the accessibility of your museum to as many people as possible.

Deciphering Design: Exploring the Anatomy of Fonts

Typography is an ever present component of our life; however, few people think about typography and fonts to the extent that designers, brand managers, and marketers do. For our design team, the world of fonts and font anatomy is where they live and thrive, and it’s crucial for them to have a complete understanding of font anatomy. We wanted to share some of the basics of Font Anatomy in case it may help you and your business.

What is Font Anatomy?

Font Anatomy at its core is the components and characteristics that makeup a font or typeface. This can include serifs, stems, font height, and more.

What are the key components that make-up Font Anatomy?

Baseline

A baseline is the line (more often than not an invisible one) whereupon a character sits. This line helps determine the positioning of the characters in the font.

Cap Height

The Cap Height is the span from the top of the characters to the baseline of the characters in the font.

X-Height

The X-Height is the height of the lowercase characters in a type face. This height varies from the Cap Height, which includes the height of the uppercase characters in a font.

Ascender

At times there are font elements that rise above a the Cap Height. These elements are considered to be an Ascender.

Descender

Much in the same way an Ascender rises above a Cap Height, a Descender dips below the baseline. This may be seen in a “y” or a “q” for instance.

Serif

A Serif is a decorative element of a font that can give a typeface a certain style or characteristic. Not all fonts have Serifs as some are considered Sans Serif.

Stem

A Stem is the primary vertical line that makes up a letter, such as an “I” or an “L”.

Counter

A Counter, as opposed to a Stem, is the primary enclosed element in a character. This can be seen in an “d” or “b”.

Bowl

A Bowl is the rounded or curved part of a letter, which may include such letters as “d” or “b”.

Terminal

A Terminal is the end of a stroke that is without a serif.

References:

Interaction Design Foundation
https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/anatomy-of-type

Typography 101
http://www.typography101.net/type_anatomy.html

Typography Terms and Definitions
https://www.monotype.com/resources/studio/typography-terms

Trends in Interior Signage

Each year we discuss broader trends in design and branding that we see coming in the future (or have already begun.) We highlighted this year’s signage and branding trends over at our flagship website www.OrtweinSign.com. This year we also want to discuss broader trends in Interior Signage especially as we’ve really bolstered our interior signage offerings this year with the creation of our new Interior Sign division.

Minimalist Design

One trend we’ve discussed in the past that’s become increasingly popular in branding is minimalist design. This means simpler, cleaner logos, simple color patterns, and clear, concise messaging. This works especially well for interior signs, especially ADA, since that’s already largely what helps these signs be as effective as they can be.

As we cater to more and more clients looking for room signs, bathroom signs, ADA signs, etc. to match their branding, we are increasingly being asked to fabricate signs with such minimalist elements as we described above.

Customization

Clients want the ability to customize signage for their needs, and at Ortwein Sign, your one-stop shop for interior and exterior signage, customization is what we do. Increasingly we’re working with clients to be able to provide methods for clients to request customizations online and over the phone, to more quickly and efficiently provide signage for our clients needs.

Digital Signage

Even before Covid changed the way many restaurants and stores interacted with customers, we had already begun to see an increased presence for digital signage in interior spaces. With kiosks, digital menu boards, and digital wayfinding signs, this trend has only increased. We don’t expect it to stop anytime soon.

Interactive Signage

As Digital Signage has increased its presence, so has the use of signage to present interactive experiences. Whether this is a QR code on an airport sign offering flight details, or an ADR (augmented reality) experience, increasingly we’re seeing digital signage in particular used to provide interactive experiences.

Sustainability

One trend we discussed in our 2024 Trends blog over at www.OrtweinSign.com that is just as true with Interior Signage is the push for sustainable signage. This can be a desire for processes that are more sustainable and economically friendly, but it can also be a push for more sustainable materials. In general, we see a move to reduce our impact on the world by improving our practices from exterior to interior signage.

Mixed Materials

Interior Signage may need to comply with rules, in particular ADA signage; however, there are still ways to get creative with signage and mixed materials is one such way. This can mean using acrylic with glass, metal with bamboo, or a number of other materials.

Future of Interior Signage

Ultimately as with all trends we will have to see what changes in 2024; however, these are all trends we’ve begun to see in 2023 and thus seem more likely to stay the course.

Whether you need custom ADA signs, or wayfinding systems, or any other exterior and interior signage, we at Ortwein Sign are here for you. So reach out to Ortwein Sign today at (423) 867-9208 or visit www.OrtweinSigninterior.com/Contact-Us to see how we can help provide your signage solution!

Understanding The Impact of Promotional Signage on Consumers’ Behavior

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.

Visual Merchandising

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.

Is Promotional Signage Effective?

The authors pooled the existing research to answer four questions, among them “assess the effectiveness of promotional signage in increasing sales, brand awareness, and consumer engagement.”

Study’s Conclusion

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.

Joseph, Ms Vishakha, and Mr Atul Pathak. “BEYOND THE SIGNS: EXPLORING THE SUBCONSCIOUS EFFECTS OF PROMOTIONAL SIGNAGE ON CONSUMER BEHAVIOR.” https://journal-dogorangsang.in/no_1_Online_23/69_apr.pdf

Pumpkin Spice, Signs, and Everything Nice: Signage for Cafés and Restaurants

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

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

Scooter's Drive-Thru Signs

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

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.

Though Blade Signs aren’t as common, they stand apart both in their uniqueness and their designs. We in fact have written an entire blog highlighting how blade signs attract customers, and thus we recommend you read that for a deeper understanding of the value of this sign type.

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

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

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

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.

Digital Kiosks

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.

Wrap-Up

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 ROI: How to Measure the Impact of Signage on Business Revenue

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.

Set Objectives

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.

Brand Awareness

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.

Scooter's Drive-Thru Signs

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.

Ortwein Sign’s Guide to Braille

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.

History of Braille

Braille is forever linked with Louis Braille, the young Frenchman who in his teens began to adapt a six-dot code for writing and music notation. According to Britannica.com, after being blinded at the age of 3, Braille, a rather incredible student in his outright, invented the system at the age of 15. Braille was not working in a vacuum however when he developed his system, as he adapted his own method from work by Charles Barbier. Likewise Valentin Haüy, a fellow Frenchman, years before had developed a system of embossed paper for use of reading by the blind. Hauy is also known as the founder of Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles (National Institute for Blind Children), where Louis Braille was a student and first developed Braille.

The Adoption of Braille

Braille was adopted over time by educators and countries alike, and in 1932 representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States of America met to adopt the system known as English Standard Braille.

Simple Introduction to Braille

By Padin – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5 es, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=120922892

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. 

Two Types of Braille

According to Perkins School for the Blind, there are two types of braille: contracted and uncontracted.

“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.”

Braille and ADA

In 1990, The Americans with Disabilities Act passed in Congress and was signed into law. This act helped codify federal requirements to help increase access to all persons in public buildings.

Among the regulations in the act are those identifying the use of Braille, including when it should be used, where it should be placed, as well as the proper use.

What Type of Signs Incorporate Braille?

Braille signs fall under the heading of Tactile Signage.

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.”

Where must Braille appear on ADA Compliant Signs?

According to Access-Board.Gov, Braille is located below raised characters, including when text is multi-lined.

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.”

Ortwein Sign’s Comprehensive Guide to Signage and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

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.

What is considered a public building?

According to the American Bar Association, Title III of the American Disabilities Act “prohibits discrimination based on disability in places of public accommodation.”

This encompasses a variety of businesses, government buildings, and even modes of transportation, including:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels/motels
  • Shops
  • Movie theaters
  • Private schools (including housing)
  • Doctors’ offices and private hospitals
  • Day care centers
  • Gyms
  • Organizations offering courses or examinations related to:
  • Applications, licensing, certification or credentialing for professional or trade purposes
  • Privately operated transit (includes charter buses, airport shuttles, hotel shuttles)

Source: https://www.ada.gov/topics/title-iii/

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:

Directional Signs

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.”

Information Signs

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.”

Hoistway Signs

According to AboutMechanics.com, Hoistways are the shafts that allow an elevator to move up and down. Hoistway signs are signs that are placed on the interior frame of an elevator to help identify the floor, and this is done with text and braille that fits ADA signs.

Identification Signs

In our blog Wayfinding Systems: Solutions Through Signage, we emphasize that identification signage gives the identity of an object or place according to its type and function.

Tactile Signs

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:

  • Building directories
  • Menus
  • Seat and Row designations in assembly areas
  • Occupant names
  • Building addresses
  • 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:

Identification Signs

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

TTYs Signage

  • 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.

Source: https://www.ada.gov/law-and-regs/design-standards/2010-stds/

A Look at the Costs and Challenges Impacting the Manufacturing Industry in 2023

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.

Inflation alas has continued to linger on, even as the sources of inflation have started to dissipate. Though Fed Chair Jerome Powell, and his cohorts, are continuing to fight inflation, while hoping to avoid tipping the country into recession, people, businesses, and yes manufacturers, are having to navigate this new world.

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.

Cost of Vehicles: New and Used

One cost increase that has been felt across the board, for consumers and businesses, is the high price of new and used vehicles. Story after story of consumers trying to take their car for every mile they can have become commonplace, and this is true for business as well.

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.

Cost of Materials: Mixed


Steel Costs 2009-2022: source: tradingeconomics.com

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.

Signage for Sports Teams: Stadiums, Arenas, Courts, & Facilities

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.

  1. Wayfinding Signage
GEORDIS Park signage in Nashville, TN

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.

  1. Electronic Signs and Scoreboards
1940’s Fred Medart Basketball Scoreboard from David T. Howard school in Atlanta, GA

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.

  1. 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.