What Business Owners Need to Know About Sign Insurance

Signs are a key part of a business owner’s plan and assets, and like the rest of your property, business owners will often want to make sure their signage is insured.

In this blog, we breakdown what you need to know for your signage insurance.

What type of insurance covers my signage?

Signage is covered under the umbrella of “Commercial Property Insurance”.

According to Nationwide.com,

“Commercial Property Insurance covers your business against everything from a minor hiccup to a major loss.

For example: 

  • A fire could destroy your building and the contents inside
  • A burst water pipe could damage valuable documents
  • A storm could damage your outdoor sign”

Weather in particular is a common reason for signs to be damaged. Wind, hail, snow, earthquakes, and tornadoes are all reasons why a sign may incur damage.

Is Commercial Property Insurance different from General Liability Insurance?

TheHartford.com defines General Liability Insurance as insurance that “helps protect you from claims that your business caused bodily injury or property damage. It can also protect you if someone sues you for advertising injury.”

This is different from Commercial Property Insurance, which “covers your business’ physical location and equipment, whether you own or lease it.”

These insurances may often be paired together in a package by your insurance company; however, you should double check with them to be sure.

Who provides Commercial Property Insurance?

Commercial property insurance is covered by many large and small insurance companies alike.

Does insurance differ for on-premise signs and off-premise signs?

Depending on your lease agreement, you may need to acquire insurance that covers your on-premise signage.

If you have a roadside sign like an Electronic Message Center then you should consider insurance for your sign. These signs are often more costly than on-premise signs, and their positioning can sometimes make them easier targets for weather, accidents, and vandalism.

I’m leasing a tenant space in a commercial property development. Do I cover my sign’s insurance or does my landlord?

While lease agreements may vary, you as a tenant are generally required to purchase the signs for your business. Therefore you are also the ones required to secure commercial property development insurance to cover said signage.

Does my sign company need to engage with my insurance company when my sign is damaged?

In the case of a damaged sign, if it needs to be fully replaced then your insurance company may reach out to the fabricators of the sign to determine the original cost. If it needs to be repaired then they may reach out to a local sign company to get a quote for the potential repair costs.

How much will my sign coverage cost?

According to Obierisk.com, costs will be determined largely by “the size and location of the sign.” Also under consideration will be if the sign is “in an area prone to extreme weather, such as wind, which could damage the sign.”

All You Need to Know About Project Management

Project Managers are the backbone of our team at Ortwein Sign. They oversee the project from the time it’s sold to the time we drive our crew off your lot after successfully installing your signage. To get even more detailed, they handle permitting, work day to day with our fabrication team, and hand off all the needed notes to our installers, while ensuring they have the needed information to do their job. Simply put, our Project Managers make things go smoothly. So in this blog we thought we’d not only give a shoutout to our great team, but we would also break down what makes an effective project management team. So you can see not only how our team works, but also we hope you can take away some pointers for your business.

What is Project Management?

Project Management in many ways is just what it sounds like: managing a specific, or multiple, projects from start to finish. Project Management is used for projects of all sizes, scopes, and industries. For companies without a Project Manager or Project Management team, having an expert project manager on your team can be a revelation to really see how effective and essential a Project Manager can be.

What is a Project Manager’s Role?

While the nuances of a Project Manager’s day-to-day work varies based on the work itself, essentially they oversee the completion of a project from start to finish. This includes creating a timetable for the completion of said project, scheduling and delegating tasks to the team, checking-in on the progress and completion of said tasks, assessing what needs aren’t being met and where needed pulling in additional resources, and all of that while reporting routinely to their supervisors, the relevant parties involved, or both, the overall status of said project.

What is the Project Management Triangle?

Project-triangle-en.svg

The Project Management Triangle is how a project manager manges the quality of the job. The three lines making up the triangle are: scope, time, and cost. You may have heard the old adage “you can have it cheap, you can have it fast, or you can have it done well” This speaks to the very push and pull that makes up the triangle and the struggles of a Project Manager’s role in balancing these demands.

Do Project Managers Need Expertise in the Industry They’re Managing?

While it certainly helps, there could be an argument that the industry elements may be less required than general know-how on simply effectively managing the many elements of a project from start to finish.

At Ortwein Sign, we’ve had Project Managers enter with little experience in the sign industry, but with training we were able to work together to get them up to speed with the nuances of the sign industry.

At the same time, we’ve had Project Managers with experience in our field, and while that’s certainly sped up the onboarding process, what we relied on from them most was their ability to organize, delegate, and manage all aspects of the projects they were given.

What Skills Do Project Managers Need?

Project Managers need a variety of skills, including:

Detail-Oriented Thinking

Projects can vary in scope, but as is so often said “the devil’s in the details”. It’s these details where an excellent Project Manager shines, because by overseeing all the smaller elements of a project they help the full project come together.

Time Management

Though many projects may have deadlines coming from leadership, or some external deadline, a Project Manager may need to set these deadlines, and certainly they’ll need to work within deadlines given to them. Project Managers therefore often rely on timelines and progress charts to keep up with where the completion of the project is and also the status of each individual contribution to the greater project.

Communication Skills

Communication Skills may seem obvious as a need for any employee; however, for Project Managers its essential. Not only do Project Managers need to communicate to employees up and down the chain of leadership, but they also need to really listen and grasp the information they’re being given by everyone involved. Oftentimes they’ll have to take the information from the top of the chain and relay it down and vice versa.

Ability to Run Meetings

Though essentially a component of communication skills, one aspect we’d like to single out is the ability to run meetings. Now a smaller project may not require many people to be in a room at one time; however, whether the meeting is small or large, this is another time where the Project Manager will have to field questions, listen closely to all that’s being said, transcribe these notes and often relay them after, and more.

Organizational Skills

These almost needn’t be said; however, sometimes the obvious needs to be stated and that is to say that Project Managers absolutely require organizational skills. Organizational skills are essential at every level, as it’s needed when constructing a timeline, when coordinating notes, when preparing for meetings, etc.

Do Project Managers Need to Be Certified?

Some companies may require certifications, while others may not, but if a Project Manager is looking to get ahead then there are certifications out there established specifically for Project Managers.

One such certification is the Project Management Professional (PMP)®. The PMP is offered by the Project Management Institute.

For more details on the Project Management Institute, visit their website: www.pmi.org

What Pushbacks Do Project Managers Hear Most Often?

Project Managers are an essential tool for many companies; however, that doesn’t mean that the inclusion of Project Managers on a team isn’t sometimes met with doubt and skepticism. Many employees may feel they’re already “handling” their projects just fine, and while that may be true, Project Managers often allow managers, sales team members, and others more time to do the job they were hired for.

Likewise, Project Managers are like a safety net for any missed moments in a project. While it’s ultimately up to the employees working on the project to complete their portion of the job, Project Managers act as a guide and safety line. They make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

What’s the Biggest Struggle for Project Managers?

Project Managers in many ways are the unsung heroes of an office. They usually do not have direct authority over those working on the project, but ultimately their job is ensuring the projects success. Therefore they are incredibly reliant on the work of their team. They often lack “sticks” to ensure success, but they can and should use “carrots” to encourage and support workers up and down the line who help bring the project together. Project Managers can be asked to relay difficult messages to higher-ups, and line workers; however, they also have plenty of opportunity to pass along praise. It’s a difficult balancing act for sure, but an excellent Project Manager rises to these challenges every time.

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Our Project Managers are sign permit experts. Let us share with you all we know about sign permits.

Download our FREE guide today!

    Guide to Signage for the Self-Storage Industry

    The industry of self-storage continues to thrive, and more and more entrants are coming into the industry to set up their own self-storage businesses. At Ortwein Sign, we’ve had the opportunity to support many self-storage businesses with their signage, and in that time we’ve been able to use our expertise to establish some tips we recommend for owners purchasing signage for self-storage units. In this blog, we breakdown what you need to know about signage if you’re considering starting, acquiring, or growing your self-storage business.

    Why is Signage Important for Self-Storage?

    Storage Pug, an industry leader providing websites and marketing support for self-storage companies, recently emphasized that proximity is one of the key factors self-storage customers consider when looking for self-storage options online. They go on to say that for self-storage owners a strong Google My Business profile is essential as online queries will pop-up the nearest businesses on Google. A business with a strong GMB presence therefore will capture would be customer’s attention more successfully than a poorly managed GMB.

    Much can be said that signage is important for essentially the same reason. A good looking, working sign will attract local passersby, especially if the signage stands out like a pylon sign. Whereby an unlit sign or a sign that doesn’t stand out means the would-be customer may drive right on by for a self-storage option just a little further.

    What kind of Signage helps self-storage companies stand apart?

    Though every municipality is different, and thus may allow or not allow certain signs, for our clients the bulk of our orders have been for a combo of pylon signs (or monument if pylons are not allowed) and channel letters.

    Pylon Signs

    Pylon signs are freestanding business sign structures with a custom single or multi-tenant illuminated sign box supported by one or multiple steel poles. The sign base and pole surroundings can be constructed of various materials. Pylon sign bases can be constructed of high-density urethane with a stucco finish, brick or block structures, or welded aluminum base primed and painted. Single or double sided, custom paint colors are available to complement your architecture or corporate identity. Most sign companies can incorporate a full color LED digital message board if desired. A digital message board can be programmed in a matter of seconds from a remote location.

    Pylon signs are an incredibly effectively way to bring attention to your property or business. If you have a complex with many tenants, then pylon signage featuring business names and logos are an effective way to provide advance notice for the location of your tenants’ businesses. Often, the first impression of your business is a pylon signs. Pylon signs therefore offer high impact and low maintenance exposure for only a few dollars a day.

    Custom pylon signs can help direct traffic to your business location, and they can help communicate the message of a single business or multi-tenant complex. Customized pylon signs are very popular when it comes to identifying shopping plazas and industrial complexes, car dealerships, gas stations, restaurants, mini-malls, hotels, and retail locations. By implementing a pylon sign into your project’s design scheme you can take your brand to new levels.

    Monument Signs

    Taft Hwy Self Storage monument sign with blue mountain sketched above lettering

    Monument signs vary in size; however, they are often the approximate height of a person. They can be made of a variety of materials including bricks, sign foam or aluminum.

    Though pylon signs are often taller than monument signs, there are occasions where a monument sign can actually be a pylon sign. The signage used to highlight all occupants of a strip mall calls for the services of a monument design with the height of a pylon marker. It is the best of both worlds and helps to give each merchant a chance at attracting customers, which of course benefits the other businesses as well.

    Property owners usually favor a tall design that gives each occupant a signage spot of similar size. With a smaller marker, only top-billers get good-sized signage whereas the smaller businesses might have to make do with a crammed display of their name or logo.

    Channel Letters

    A typical channel letter is a three-dimensional graphic sign element. Its channel is fabricated from sheet metal, most often aluminum since it will not rust. A flat sheet of aluminum is typically cut on a table by a computer-controlled router. This creates the back of the channel and is the basis for the letter shape. The letter can is painted and fitted with any lighting components necessary such as neon gas tubes or light-emitting diode (LED) modules. When illuminated at night, channel letters draw the eye of passers-by.

    Channel letters are a prime choice among for those looking for exterior business signs. The shape, size, and illumination of each letter ensures that your sign will stand out among other businesses, especially at night. The construction of these letters allows you endless options for custom signs. The letters are available in nearly any font, color, and size. As each letter is individually crafted, you can also incorporate your business logo in the design.

    What kind of Signage is essential for the day-to-day operations of a Self-Storage company?

    Once you’ve captured their attention with strong exterior signage, you also need to ensure the signage around your complex can help present and future customers navigate your storage units. This is where wayfinding signage especially comes into play.

    Wayfinding Signage

    Wayfinding signage systems consists of signs that let you know where you are, where you want to go, where you need to be, and sometimes even where you aren’t allowed.  When used in tandem, these signs should help direct customers and visitors alike right to their destination.

    Directional Signage

    Directional Signage is a valuable tool for self-storage units to help direct customers to their units. These signs often include arrows to help point more precisely in the direction of the destination.

    Identification Signage

    Identifying Signs at storage units consist of signage that helps label the key buildings, including the main office or offices, as well as the as names or numbers of the units themselves. If a self-storage unit has a group of units called Complex A and Complex A consists of Units 100-120, then identifying signs would be placed at the start of each complex and on the door or facade of each unit.

    What will the sign company need from me as a Self-Storage Owner?

    To be the most effective partner for your sign needs, Sign Companies will generally need three things:

    Logo and Branding (Vector Format)

    If your signage includes your logo at all, and it most likely should, then your sign company partner will need your logo art to help them design and fabricate your sign. Vector format is the preferred type of file sign companies will need as it allows them to scale the art to fit signs of various sizes.

    Survey of Your Site/Conversations During Pre-Planning

    Sign companies can help build a plan for your signage needs and how best to satisfy them. By providing your sign company early information on the site, both and you and the sign company will be better served as they help understand what signs will need to be fabricated and where they’ll need to be installed. This will also help the sign company permit the signs, which is a requirement in many municipalities.

    By contacting your sign partner early, you’ll also help alleviate potential unknown headaches along the way that may crop up if you haven’t already built-in signage to your business plan.

    Access for the Installation

    Bringing a sign company in early is the best way to prevent access issues; however, whatever time you begin to work with your sign partner you should consider what access they will need to installing signs.

    Cranes in particular are heavy and take up a fair amount of space. Therefore the surface on which they stand, and the space allotment, is important to consider. Storage companies also often have retention ponds too, and these can be often overlooked when considering access until the sign company is brought into the conversation. Be sure to mention to your sign company if and where you have a retention pond as early as possible, so the sign company can use this in their planning.

    How to choose the right sign company for the job?

    When considering which sign company to partner with, you want a company with a strong record of customer service, project management skills, as well as the know-how and equipment to develop, fabricate, and install your sign package.

    We at Ortwein Sign pride ourselves on our fabrication, customer service, and project management skills, and we believe our 99 years in business can be put to great use to help develop and execute the best sign plan possible for your self-storage business.

    Call us today at (423) 867-9208 or fill out a quote request form to see how we can help with your signage needs!

    How to Enhance Your Office with Interior Signage

    Signage and branding can be used to enhance the work environment, from the entrance, to the foyers, the hallways, and the offices themselves. This can be used as part of an overall strategy to help boost productivity, employee retention, and to promote a strong positive work culture. Signage is also key for promoting a strong sense of place with visitors and can be effectively used to guide visitors to where they are needing to go. In this guide, we breakdown the types of interior signage, along with how each can be used to effectively enhance your office space.

    Second Surface Door or Window Vinyl

    Moonlight Roller Interior Sign on Glass Window

    Whether you have a large complex, or a small office space, second surface vinyl is often the first interior signage that visitors and your employees will see. If you only have one entry door then this is the perfect space to brand your door with your logo, and it’s also a key location to add business hours to help indicate your open hours. If you have a complex with many doors, then interior door vinyl can help indicate which doors are publicly accessible, and which are not, and with further branding you can promote a sense of place as your logo could appear on all the doors of your facility.

    Wall Logo / Lobby Signs

    If you enter an office for the first time, you’ll likely see the logo on a side or back wall opposite the door so that when anyone enters the room it’s one of the first things they see. This can be done in a simple fashion or in a more ornate artistic style. Either way, by including this feature this sign not only helps highlight your office’s brand but it also helps assure any office visitors that they have indeed arrived at the location they’re seeking.

    Entryway Directory

    Directories are essential for new visitors in particular to find their way around your office space. By providing a directory upon entry, visitors will find who they’re looking for quickly and see what room they’re located in.

    Wayfinding Signage

    Interior wayfinding signage that says South and Town Center on two walls at the front of a hallway

    Pair a directory with additional wayfinding signage to help get visitors on the right foot. Wayfinding signage systems can be a perfect way to help direct traffic where you want it to be, and it can also be an opportunity for branding as brand colors and fonts can be included. Wayfinding signage can include everything from statuatory signs, built to display rules and regulations, to identificational signs, which indicate the name and purpose of a place or space.

    Learn all about the six types of wayfinding signage in our blog: Wayfinding Systems Solutions Through Signage

    Title Signs

    Title signs are perhaps the most omnipresent example of identificational signs. Each office space will undoubtedly have an occupant, or more, and by putting the name and title of the teacher, professor, office worker, etc. in a small sign on the door visitors know that they’re at the office space of said person. These can be fabricated in such a way as to slide in a frame , should they need to be replaced as office workers come and go. Digital LED screens can even be used in this manner as well, which will help increase the longevity of the sign though at a perhaps greater initial cost.

    Branded ADA Signs

    ADA sign on table with reflection; sign says PRIVATE 123

    ADA signs are a requirement for most any office, and while there are specific requirements for ADA signs there still exists the opportunity to brand ADA signs with colors or logos.

    Environmental Graphics, Murals, and Wall Art

    Graphics of Chattanooga and text on wall interior

    Wall art and mural art are perhaps the greatest assets for adding creative uses of branding in an interior space. Even if the logo isn’t included you can use brand colors in the art to signify your brand in a more subtle fashion.

    Oftentimes too wall art is an opportunity to tie an office closer to the community they serve, whether that be photos of the city from which they operate or perhaps photos or graphics of their customers. Employees can also be represented through wall art as well.

    Neon Signs

    Neon signs have historically been considered primarily as exterior signage, except for perhaps the many neon bar signs one finds. More and more though neon signs are used as accent pieces to brighten, metaphorically and literally, office spaces. These can be fun ways for offices to emphasize a motto, the brand name and logo, or to simply create a pleasant vibe in the office space.

    Our team fabricates Neon signs for Interior and Exterior uses:

    Download our FREE guide to learn all about neon signs today!

      Signage and Sign Refresh Return On Investment (ROIs)

      Signs are considered such an integral part of a business; however, that strangely means they’re often overlooked when developing a business plan. It’s often assumed that signage is an easy final step, so less thought is put into the budget needed and time to procure said sign. We’ve covered in great length the pitfalls of this kind of thinking, and why you should prepare early for your signage, but here we want to truly emphasize how signage can have direct benefits to your business and what it takes for signage to be effective.

      For our first two points, we’ll be looking at a 2012 report by The University of Cincinatti’s Economics Center. In this report, the researchers considered the impact of signage on businesses and found a few key findings from their case studies and surveys.

      Readability and Legibility

      Signage that can’t be read easily is quite simply signage that isn’t working for your business. Business owners when surveyed indicated for them that “helping customers find their location was the most important purpose” for signage. At their core businesses provide a service or need customers want, and the more time a customer spends trying to understand your business, or finding your business, is simply more time they’ll consider another business. Therefore sign readability and legibility is a key component when ensuring your signage provides the best ROI possible.

      Direct and Indirect Benefits of Electronic Message Centers

      Rossville Church Electronic Message Center on Monument Sign

      In a case study on the dealership Chuck Anderson Ford, the researchers looked at the implementation of a new electronic message sign on a pylon and its effect on the revenue. The study showed the dealership’s revenue was up 10% compared to the previous year. Additionally “an estimated 30 percent of the new sign’s message time is focused on community announcements and public service messages”, which according to Anderson, the store owner, has impacted their perception in the community in meaningful, positive ways.

      For our next two points, we’ll look at the Sign Research Foundation’s “Retail Signage: Practice to Increase Return on Investment”.

      Architecture Integration

      In this publication, the SRF report emphasizes the importance of “architectural integration” as one of their measures of successful signage. Architectural Integration in this case is considered effective when the signage matches the design and look of the environment where it’ll be placed. One case study in the report highlighted Valley Green Bank and specifically showcased how the firm “Metcalfe Architecture and Design utilized the graphic palette when designing new banks inside of renovated existing buildings, with each of the three community banks reflecting the unique neighborhood character.” This meant Green Bank reflected the community’s looks and values and thus helped them integrate more easily into the community space. This was beneficial for the business, as “return on Equity (2014) [for] Valley Green was 8th in ROE of 4,000 U.S. Community Banks.”

      Perhaps a more familiar example of this in practice that you may have seen is the restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings, which successfully and ably adapts to fit community spaces. Buffalo Wild Wings, according to the SRF report, “boasts a strong internal design team of in-house designers and architects with a holistic approach to building design that touches every aspect of the exterior and interior.” This allows them to adapt the exterior of the building, and even the building design itself, to the community look and standards, while also keeping a strong familiar presence in the interior look and feel of each restaurant.

      Management and Effective Signage ROI

      The SRF report also emphasizes that the success of signage ROI is best when linked to store or business management.

      In the report, they showcase four “Leading Management Practices for Increasing ROI:

      • Making Sign Excellence a Strategy to Reward
      • Integrating Signs into ROI Metrics
      • Community Engagement
      • Experience Designers Making Signs Central to an Integrated Brand Strategy“

      In particular, the last point is key. As the Buffalo Wild Wings example shows, design can be adapted to match a community while still maintaining overall brand integrity. Business managers often have the power to oversee these design changes, so it’s up to them and their design team to ensure the best integration of signage into a winning brand strategy.

      Conclusion:

      Though signage itself varies from business to business and jurisdiction to jurisdiction, a strong, winning strategy for signage design and implementation can be an incredibly effective draw to bring in customers and clients. Simply adding a sign as an afterthought is not enough if you want your business to succeed though. Your business must think strategically about the look, location, and design of your signage and branding.

      Aligning yourself with a sign company at the onset can prove effective, as we can take your business to the next level and ensure your signage is working for you. Call Ortwein Sign at (423) 867-9208 to see how we can help maximize your signage ROI.

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      Sign Removals Aren’t Just for Business Closures

      Download our FREE guide showing 5 reasons you may one day need a sign removal service.

        Guide to Establishing Your Brand Identity

        Branding has been an established concept now in business and marketing for sometime; however, to many laypersons they may see branding as little more than creating and using a logo. That is only one facet however of building a successful brand identity, whereas the full result of successful branding is to bring about a positive view of a company and its products and services. Here are a few of the key steps to developing a brand for your business.

        Find What Makes You “You”

        Each company is unique in their own way, otherwise why would you have set about to build your business in the first place? Figure out what it is that sets you apart, your unique value proposition, and use that to help identify your business and what you offer to your customers.

        Identify Your Values

        What does your company stand for? You may have values you represent externally, and then values you hold internally, but whichever values you have they need to be something you stand for and something that helps how you communicate to your clients and employees. At Ortwein Sign for instance, we value craftsmanship and pride of work, and this means that not only are we focused on fabricating the best signs for our clients, but when we do a great job it’s not only its own reward but it’s also rewarded internally.

        Develop Your Visual Identity

        This is the component of branding that is most familiar, as a “brand” is often represented through the visual medium of logos, signs, ads, and other marketing assets. Even here though there’s more to it than just designing a logo, as you’ll want to consider the colors you use, the style of font, and of course consider not only what your logo should look like but how well you can represent your logo across all mediums. You’ll want a logo for instance that can look good on a sign, a business card, and a social media profile photo.

        Speak with One Voice

        One concept that companies often struggle with is the concept of a company “voice”. Especially with the continued growth of social media as a business platform, companies now more than ever need to find their voice and try to use it for their communications internally and externally. Companies like Moon Pie are now known for their humorous, almost sardonic voice, especially on Twitter. However, for some companies, such as a bank, they may want to go for a more serious, yet friendly tone. Though it may take you sometime to find the right voice, once you do it’ll benefit your brand, and therefore your business, incredibly.

        Your Brand at Work

        Branding isn’t always the end all be all to your business problems; however, the lack of a cohesive brand could be the cause of many problems. Therefore it’s important to use what we highlighted above, an established identity, strong company values, visual assets, and a singular company voice, and with those in place you can use it to guide your business for years to come.

        5 Best Practices for an Effective Wayfinding Signage System

        We’ve already discussed and highlighted the 6 benefits of wayfinding signs as well as the various types of wayfinding signs. Now let’s talk about what you need to do to ensure your wayfinding system is successful. Here are 5 best practices to ensure you achieve success with your wayfinding systems.

        1. Identify a Naming Convention

        If you have a particularly large complex, then you may need signs numbering in the dozens and even hundreds. When developing signage to that scale you need to keep in mind that a sign in one building representing an office or break room for instance should look the same, and read the same, as a sign representing an office or break room in another part of the building.

        Wayfinding signage is at its best when it’s recognizable even for just a quick glance, and maintaining a naming convention for your spaces will help with this.

        1. Setup Wayfinding Signage For Easy Maintenance and Change

        Wayfinding signage’s lifespan can vary depending on the needs of the business and the static or dynamic nature of the physical space itself. Construction of an additional building on a campus for instance, college or corporate, would mean there would be a need for additional signage. This signage should match the existing signs, and that can mean the need for additional investment. Additional digital signage therefore can be quite an investment. However, if an entire department changes 

        Not everyone can purchase a wayfinding system with digital signage throughout, and even when you do you need to ensure you have employees at your office, or a partner, who can input messages and serve as a contact or source for any repair needs.

        1. Future-proof and Value Add

        Though digital signage requires a greater initial investment, you may also find additional value in your sign system as you find or develop new uses for your signage. Digital signage can add potential marketing abilities, internally or externally, and if the latter you might be able to charge for commercial use or advertisement. Overtime these ads can help the return on investment of your digital wayfinding signage.

        If you’re considering using physical wayfinding signage though, then future-proofing signage may look a little different. In this case, you’ll need to consider developing a partnership with a sign company that can routinely provide updated signage to your wayfinding systems.

        1. Clear and Concise Messaging.

        Wayfinding signage needs to be read at varying speeds. You’ll want to consider this when developing your wayfinding system, and while most may be able to read at a slower pacec you have to keep in mind especially those folks hurriedly trying to find their destination. Simple and clean sign design can help convey the message you want the receiver to understand. Convoluted messaging, smaller text sizes, and ornate fonts would muddle the message.

        1. Standard Positioning and Placement

        Probably one of the most crucial aspects of an effective wayfinding system is the physical locations of the wayfinding signage itself. ADA signs are required by law to be positioned in specific locations; however, for those that aren’t required to be ADA compliant, there’s more leeway. Even so, you should still design the system so that if you entered any room in the complex a visitor would know where to expect the signage to be.

        If you consider an airport with an effective wayfinding system, you know after spending just a little time inside that all the Gate #’s are positioned in the same space. This is so passengers do not have to spend an exorbitant amount of time looking for their gate. You may also be thinking of an airport with a poor wayfinding system that you have visited, and if so you may be thinking now of how this poorly affects passengers’ moods, the time it takes to go through the airport extends, and this could ultimately lead to missing one’s flight.

        Conclusion:

        As you’ve seen, Wayfinding is used across various industries, from health care, aviation, schools, businesses, and so many more industries we have not yet touched on. Though there are unique challenges and needs for each, developing a comprehensive wayfinding system with these best practices in mind will help your wayfinding system achieve the success you want.

        To help further the success of your wayfinding system, consider partnering with a sign company like Ortwein Sign. We have the knowledge and know-how to fabricate, install, and service your wayfinding system and signs. Call us today at (423) 867-9208 or contact us online to see how we can help solve your wayfinding problems!

        References:

        ACRP Report 52: Wayfinding and Signing Guidelines for Airport Terminals and Landside

        Where Am I Going? Wayfinding best practices and guidelines (EPAM Continuum)

          Wayfinding Systems: Solutions Through Signage

          If you’re entering a new business for the first time, often you’ll look for a wayfinding sign to guide you to where you need to go. In a theme park or mall, this can be a matter of convenience. In a hospital or in an emergency, it can be a matter of life or death. Wayfinding systems do not just guide customers to where they need to go though. They also offer business owners a chance to brand their signage and thus give their customers a sense of place when visiting your business. For these reasons and more, wayfinding signage has become an essential component of interior signage for buildings of all size.

          In this blog, we will discuss the different types of wayfinding signs, the benefits of wayfinding signage, and the opportunities that they provide businesses as well to brand their shop.

          What is Wayfinding Signage?

          In “Issue of wayfinding concept in museum interiors”, by T. Sarihati, R. Firmansyah, S. Salayanti & N. Hasanah A. Rosyad (PDF), the authors state “Wayfinding is a means to provide information related to directions, special signs for certain locations. Wayfinding is a system that provides predictable locations by various types of information and hierarchical instructions that enhance understanding and navigation in an environment.” Wayfinding systems and signs therefore serve to acclimate a person to a space and help guide them through it to one or more destinations.

          What are the 6 types of Wayfinding Signage?

          According to T. Sarihati, R. Firmansyah, S. Salayanti & N. Hasanah A. Rosyad, there are 6 defined types of wayfinding signage. Their descriptions of each type of signage are as follows:

          1. Orientational Sign

          “Orientational sign is a panel of signs that contains clear information about the position of a person in an environment, such as maps, architectural references from a building, and the plan of the circulation of lanes in and out. Road search is characterized by knowledge of the route obtained through procedural rules.”

          Orientational Sign for the medical complex The Atrium Building 2
          1. Information or Informational Sign

          An Informational Sign “refers to the specifics and details of information, with the sign form being adjusted to the information that is to be conveyed. “

          1. Directional Sign

          Directional sign shows the direction or location of the destination to be directed by visitors. This sign is an explicit navigation tool. It is expected to make visitors more efficient and comfortable in an environment.

          Directional Signs for the medical complex The Atrium Building 2
          1. Identification Sign

          Identification signage gives the identity of an object or place according to its type and function.

          Apartment leasing office sign on front of apartment complex
          1. Statutory Sign

          Statutory (regulatory) sign is in the form of regulations, general restrictions, or permits for a particular activity. Its main function is to maintain one’s safety from danger and informs what to do and not to do.

          1. Ornamental Sign

          Ornamental sign serves as a decorative element that aims to beautify, enhance, or beautify an overall appearance of an environment or as a complement to the elements of a sign (Kusuma 2018)

          What are the benefits of Wayfinding Signage?

          1. Improves Traffic Flow in Your Workplace or Business Environment

          At its core, a wayfinding system is setup to improve the flow of traffic for visitors and employees alike. By allowing people to be a more astute guide through the use of wayfinding signage, you’re improving people’s ability to traverse your spaces. This singular benefit impacts all the benefits to follow.

          2. Improves Workplace Environment for Visitors and Employees Alike

          In Best Practices for Wayfinding in a Hospital Setting by Jerod S Potter, a Clinical Informaticist at Salem Health, he analyzed wayfinding studies in hospital settings and found one study, Benefits of Effective Wayfinding
          Chaudhury, H., Mahmood, A., & Valente, M. (2009), saw that “[p]atient and visitor satisfaction scores also rise when better wayfinding improves movement through the hospital, positively impacting the staff and reducing turnover. [Likewise], better design…facilitates a healthier, happier environment for staff helps to increase staff
          satisfaction.”

          3. Direct Visitors to Unseen or Underutilized Spaces and Facilities

          Directional sign in the middle of a cruise ship foyer

          Instead of letting visitors stumble into a space or place you want them to find, an orientational sign can let them know it exists, a directional sign can point them where to go, and an identifying sign can let them know they’ve arrived. Without such signage visitors may never find this place, nor even know it exists to begin with. Therefore a proper wayfinding system can help inform and orient your visitors to the myriad of locations in your facility or business that they can and cannot visit.

          4. Enhance Brand Identity and Sense of Place

          If two companies such as Target and Wal-Mart were to be placed within the same building adjacent to one another, thanks to their use of wayfinding signage and recognizable brand symbols you would know doubt still know when you’re in which store’s space. Though this example us unlikely to occur, you may have commercial space such as malls, corporate complexes, or even hospitals or schools where this is an increased reality. Even if you’re the only occupant of your business space, you still want your visitors and employees to feel as if they’re in your businesses’ space, and wayfinding signage allows for that ability especially when paired with quality brand design and brand implantation. Signs marking offices and doors can include a small logo for instance of your company, or perhaps they could simple have an artistic rendering of shapes using your logo’s colors. Both are methods for which you can with varying levels of subtlety tell people in your building where they are at and what business they are in at that moment in time.

          At Ortwein Sign, we pride ourselves on our ability to design and produce wayfinding signage to scale! Whether you need a couple signs, or hundreds, we’re the team to meet your needs. Contact us for a free quote today to see how our team can help your business!

          Sign Terms 101

          A list of sign terminology.

          *Indicates terms that are often linked to Interior Signage, though not exclusively so.

          • ADA Signs*: Signs that meet the American Disability Act specifications for accessibility, which include placement, design, color, content, and style guidelines. Often these include signs with braille and ADA approved icons.
          • Aesthetics: elements of signage that project a particular level of beauty and value, including aspects of design, color, form, and quality of craftsmanship that appeal to a viewer’s artistic sensibilities.
          • Animated signs: a sign that uses changes in light and color to create the impression of motion, or that incorporates actual mechanical elements that move. Animated signs may achieve motion through the use of electrical power or by mechanical means, for instance wind currents. Signs that flash on and off give the impression of motion, but in animated signs, the motion is more integral to the design and message.
          • Awning signs: sign mounted to a building so that it provides information while also serving as shelter. Or signage, usually a vinyl application, affixed to existing awnings.
          • Backlighted letters: open-backed or translucent and lit from within or behind, that throws light back onto the support surface to create a halo effect around the letters. (Sometimes called silhouette or halo lettering.)
          • Ballast: the electrified structure that secures and powers fluorescent lamps.
          • Banners: portable signage made of a light, flexible material like cloth or vinyl that is hung or strung from hooks or cord. Often used to announce events and openings, banners function well for short-term signage and in-home use, or can be fabricated out of durable materials for long-term reuse indoors and out.
          • Bench signs: lettering and imagery applied to the back section or other surfaces of public seating, for instance on park benches and bus-stop seating.
          • Building fascia: the exterior wall of a building, rising from ground level to the roofline eaves and extending across the full width of the structure.
          • Building mounted signs: signage hung from or affixed to the wall or roof of a building.
          • Cabinet signs: the frame or external structure of a box-like sign that encloses the various functional elements of the design, whether electrical or dimensional components.
          • Canopy signs: sign, like a marquee, constructed or affixed to a building in such a way that it serves as a canopy over the space below; Or a sign affixed to a canopy.
          • Carved signs: signs made of wood or synthetic materials with lettering and graphics deeply gouged into the surface of the substrate. These incise carved elements are usually painted or gilded with 23K gold leaf.
          • Changeable copy panels: a section of an otherwise permanent sign that allows the message to be amended, updated, or otherwise modified using track lettering or dry erase, etc. Popular uses include A-frames and menu boards.
          • Changeable copy signs: signage structure and lettering that provides panel-support or letter tracks allowing full sign changes and updates. Popular for informational signage and announcements.
          • Channel letters: three-dimensional letters, often hollow, and may or may not incorporate a light source within.
          • Conforming sign: a sign that is constructed and installed in compliance with design, material, and construction regulations issued by the municipality in which it appears.
          • Contrast: the relative difference or variance in tone and color between elements in a sign that allow each element to stand out; for instance, light colors on a dark background, dark type on light background, or overlays of similar colors from pale to deep tones.
          • Copy: the text message or words contained in a sign.
          • Copy area: the sections of a sign that contain text message as opposed to imagery or pictorial elements.
          • Cost per thousand (CPM): the cost of bringing a message to the attention of a thousand viewers. CPM is calculated by dividing the cost of a given advertising medium by the number of individuals who will view or be exposed to the medium. Well-designed and displayed signage on buildings or on vehicles is seen by so many individuals on a daily basis that signage is considered one of the most cost-effective modes of advertising, with low CPM.
          • Custom signs: a sign made to a customer’s specifications, including their logo, copy and colors.
          • Decals: a printed film, usually made of vinyl, with a pressure sensitive adhesive.
          • Dimensional letters: cast, molded, fabricated, or cut-out lettering or design (logo) applied to create a raised image on signage.
          • Directional signs: signage that help drivers and pedestrians to navigate a given location or event, whether interior or exterior. For example, parking signs, signs featuring destinations with arrows, etc.
          • Directory signs*: signage listing names and locations for multiple business tenants in a building, or the companies in an industrial or office park.
          • Double-faced signs: signage with two fronts, hung so that the message can be seen from either side (see projecting sign).
          • Electric signs: signage that contains moving or lighted elements wired for electricity.
          • Electronic message centers: signage that features changeable text and/or illustrations, using computer software or other technology to automate the messages delivery schedule.
          • Environmental Graphics*: Graphics that are applied to a wall, often with vinyl or paint, and thus are often considered murals or wall art. These are primarily considered to be interior signs; however, they are not exclusive to interior spaces.
          • Exterior illuminated signs: sign lit by a light source apart from and aimed at the face of the sign (not lit from within).
          • Face: the front of a sign, where the message is carried.
          • Fascia signs: sign mounted on a building face (wall).
          • Flashing signs: a lighted sign that turns on and off, creating the illusion of movement and attracting attention to the sign’s message. Flashing signs usually contain a single primary message that is repeated over and over as the sign cycles on and off.
          • Flat cutout letters*: dimensional letters cut from a broad sheet of metal or composite.
          • Fleet graphics: a vehicle graphic or wrap template applied to multiple vehicles operated by one company. A great way to build brand recognition and gain exposure while off premise. A well designed fleet can make a business appear larger and enhances their visibility in the communities they service.
          • Fluorescent lamp or tube: the glass tube in fluorescent lighting that contains luminescent vapor that lights up when electrified. Fluorescent lamps are manufactured to fit into standard ballast sizes or electrical receptacles.
          • Font: a unified design for a set of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks, incorporating specifications for standard roman typeface, boldface, italic, and all combinations of these (e.g., bold italic).
          • Freestanding signs: signage installed on posts or other supports that are not attached to any building or structure. A sign that stands on its own.
          • Front-lighted letters: channel letter illuminated from behind or containing a light source, with translucent face that conveys light forward.
          • Full service sign company: signage provider with ability to shepherd a project through the entire process from site selection through engineering, permitting, design, manufacture, and installation. Also, a provider of short and long-term signage, interior and exterior, for all applications.
          • Ground signs: freestanding, self-contained sign not supported by posts or other structures.
          • Incandescent bulbs: a vacuum sealed lamp (bulb) that directs an electrical charge through a filament, which glows hot and gives off light.
          • Legibility: ability to decipher lettering and message elements based on design and fabrication quality of signage. How well a sign can be seen and read.
          • Logo: a unique design composed of text, letters, and/or images that represent a company’s brand or identity.
          • Mall signage*: wall-mounted, banners, POS/POP, and all types of signs located within the interior of commercial buildings or malls.
          • Marquee: a substantially constructed canopy often of wood, metal, and/or glass components constructed to overhang an entrance to define the space and provide shelter to those entering and leaving.
          • Marquee signs: lettering and imagery affixed to a marquee canopy, sometimes referring to the canopy itself along with the message text and images. Typical marquee signage is found at the entry to theaters and movie houses overhanging the box office and announcing current and future shows.
          • Menu boards*: changeable copy signs, typically used by retailers to list items and prices of good currently offered, or by food service and restaurateurs to describe daily meals offered. Often constructed with use of track lettering.
          • Message centers: variable message sign controlled by computer or other off-site means, allowing message to be updated from a remote location.
          • Mobile signs: sign mounted on a flatbed or other vehicle for transportation to various locations where it is temporarily being used.
          • Monument signs: a freestanding, low-profile ground sign.
          • Neon signs: sign fashioned from continuous hollow tubing bent in the shape of letters or images, filled with gases that glow when an electrical current is passed through the tubing.
          • Neon tubing: hollow tubing that is bent into shape and filled with various inert gases that glow different colors when electrical current is passed through them.
          • Off-premise signs: a sign not directly associated with the property or location at which it is displayed; e.g. outdoor advertising or event announcements displayed at locations unaffiliated with the product or event that is the subject of the sign.
          • On-premise signs: signage related to the goods and services offered at the property or location at which it is displayed, such as store names, theater marquees, building directories, monument signs, POP banners, etc.
          • Open channel letters: dimensional letters with open fronts that, when illuminated, reveal the light source. At times, open channel letters use a sheet of transparent material to protect any interior elements.
          • Painted wall signs: wall-mounted building sign with lettering and imagery on face surface
          • Pan channel letters: three-dimensional letter with sides and back constructed to hold embossed or debossed panel for front of letter.
          • Pan faces: a three-dimensional sign face (front) that includes molded raised or inset design elements; sometimes called embossed or debossed face.
          • Permanent signs: durable signage mounted or affixed for long-term use, not easily removed, and resistant to weather and other wear and tear.
          • Point of Purchase signs (POP; also Point of Sale, POS): signage posted at the location of goods and services offered for sale, advertising items or special sales.
          • Portable signs: signage not permanently affixed to a building or ground, nor wired for electricity or other utility, and easily removed to another location with little or no need for tools or special equipment.
          • Post and panel signs: sign installed by mounting on a single or multiple support posts.
          • Projecting signs: building-mounted sign installed perpendicular to the fascia of the building (appropriate mounting for double-faced sign).
          • Push-through: lettering or logo image cut through the sign face and backing material and mounted or inlaid so the sign looks as if the lettering or image had been pushed through, up, and out of the sign. Sometimes push-through lettering is backlit through the sign, or the fascia of the lettering is translucent to allow lighting the imagery from behind.
          • Pylon signs: freestanding sign with visible supporting posts or other foundational structure.
          • Raceways: for electrical signs, the enclosure that holds sign elements, which may also be the structural element that is mounted on a wall or other support element.
          • Readability (also called conspicuity): how well the sign can be perceived and understood by viewers; the level of clarity that allows the message to come through.
          • Returns: for channel letters, the sides of the letters.
          • Reverse channel letters: channel letter with opaque face and side walls.
          • Roof signs: signage mounted on the roof of a building.
          • Sidewalk/sandwich signs: portable and relatively lightweight signage constructed to stand independently, not mounted or affixed to its location, often fabricated as A-frame.
          • Signs: graphic or visual display to inform viewers about the particular location, and/or to advertise a company, product, service, or event.
          • Sign band: the area above the entrances to a tenant spaces in a multi-tenant complex where the tenants can post signage specific to their occupancy.
          • Signage: aggregate of signs for a particular use or location
          • Single-face signs: a sign with only one side carrying the message.
          • Stationary signs: a sign that is mounted in a permanent manner, usually including electrical power service that makes it difficult to move the sign without specific tools or equipment.
          • Stickers: a printed film, usually made of vinyl, with a pressure sensitive adhesive.
          • Temporary signs: any sign intended for short-term us or not permanently mounted at the display site, including such items as banners, political lawn signs, and construction site panels.
          • Time and temperature display: an electrified sign with a variable lighted message showing the current time interchanged with the current temperature, often displayed as elements in larger signs created for banks, corporations, institutions, or organizations.
          • Transformers: electrical equipment that takes available voltage and current at a site and converts it to the levels required by elements in the signage.
          • Under-canopy signs: sign designed to be mounted under a canopy.
          • Variable message signs: like a changeable message sign, one that is designed to convey differing messages at different times. Also includes changeable message, changeable copy, time and temperature sign, electronic message center, and menu board.
          • Variance: permission from a municipality for signage or installation to vary from regulated sign specifications. Variances are awarded or denied following a hearing before appropriate boards and commissions with authority to review sign design and usage requests.
          • Vehicle lettering: text, graphics or logos applied to the doors, sides, hood, roof, windows or tailgates of cars, vans or trucks. One of the most inexpensive and effective ways for businesses of all sizes to advertise while off premise.
          • Vehicle wraps: graphically designed vinyl configured and cut to fit a specific vehicle that, when installed, encases the vehicle in the graphic design to create a dynamic, eye-catching, mobile advertisement.
          • Visibility: as in readability, how well the sign can be perceived and understood by viewers; how well the sign can be seen against its surroundings.
          • Wall signs/graphics*: sign mounted on the wall of a building, which may include the exterior or interior walls
          • Wayfinding*: as with directional signage, signage that assists viewers or travelers in finding their way to a destination.
          • Window signs (graphics)*: signs displayed in window, or graphics applied directly to the window, often adhesive backed vinyl permanently affixed to the interior of the glass.

          International Building Code (IBC), International Fire Code (IFC), & Signage

          Introduction to the International Building Code (2018) & International Fire Code (2021)

          Building Garage Standpipe Sprinkler Sign above 4 hose connectors

          In 2018, the International Code Council (ICC) released the latest iteration of the International Building Code (IBC). The IBC addresses everything from building materials, to signage, accessibility, occupancy and more. In the United States in particular, the IBC is the code most prevalent with regards to building and construction, and often serves as the starting point for jurisdictions across the country. 

          In 2021, the ICC released the latest iteration of the International Fire Code (IFC). The IFC builds off of work by the ICC on codes for the IBC, the International Plumbing Code (IPC), International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC), and more, to focus specifically on a set of base requirements for fire prevention and protection systems.

          As with all ICC codes, the implementation of IBC and IFC varies per jurisdiction, as does their enforcement.

          History of ICC

          Pen lying on a blueprint

          According to StrategicStandards.com, “Building codes were first seen in the United States in the early 1700’s AD. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson encouraged the development of building regulations to provide minimum standards to ensure health and safety of our citizens.”

          Since that time, a growing interest in coalescing various building codes to form a standard set of codes that companies could consult when constructing and adapting structures led to the creation of various building codes.

          Ultimately, after a variety of codes and standards were created and used in different jurisdictions, the International Code Council (ICC) was created in 1994 to clear up confusion. According to ICCSAFE.com, “[the ICC]  brought together three different organizations that had developed three separate sets of model codes throughout the U.S.: Building Offi­cials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (SBCCI).”

          Among the facets of new construction and renovation that the IBC codified, and the elements of protection and prevention codified by the IFC, signage remains a key component.

          IBC & Accessibility

          International Symbol of Access in blue square on black background

          Of particular note, the IBC requires standards for accessibility including signs that showcase the available use of emergency shelters, accessible parking spaces, assistive listening systems, and directional signage.

          Source: https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IBC2018/chapter-11-accessibility

          IBC & Signage Permitting

          Though this varies by jurisdiction, Appendix H, Section H101.2 of the IBC highlights some signage that may be exempt from permitting prior to construction:

          • Temporary, non-illuminated signs displaying “For Sale”, “For Rent”, or similar messages
          • Transportation signs installed by state and gov’t transit authorities
          • Signs that do not extrude beyond 2.5 square feet

          Source: https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IBC2018/appendix-h-signs

          IFC & Signage

          Two firefighters walking away in a building

          Much like the IBC, the International Fire Code (IFC) also has rules with regards to signage for new constructions and renovations. Fire Codes like Building Codes also vary by jurisdiction; however, what’s of utmost importance ultimately to firefighters on the scene is that when on location they know where they are, where they need to go, where hose connections are located, and the location of any and all access points. This means that throughout the building or rooms in a complex, key locations should be clearly marked and designated with proper signage.

          Source: https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IFC2021P1/

          We know codes so you don’t have to! Call us today 1-866-867-9208 to see how our project managers can guide your sign project to success.

          (Republished from OrtweinSign.com)