Long gone are the days of the one room schoolhouse, where students of all ages sat in one space to learn. Now even smaller schools, and especially colleges and universities, are becoming sprawling campuses, where finding your way around is becoming more and more of a necessity and a struggle simultaneously.
Signage is therefore crucial for visitors, students, teachers, and staff alike, to know where they are, where they need to go, and in some cases where they shouldn’t be. In this blog post we breakdown the different ways schools, colleges, and universities use signs, and the different types of signage that helps schools satisfy their wayfinding needs.
Wayfinding Signage in Elementary School, Middle School, and High School
When you think of schools most often you’re thinking of primary and secondary schools. Though there’s often a level of routine, especially for elementary and middle schools, as to what students, faculty, and staff do each day, wayfinding systems can help new students, staff, and faculty members orient themselves faster and more easily.
Likewise should visitors arrive, be it for an open house, a family visitation day, or other special events, these signs will help direct visitors where to go and not to go.
In the case of an emergency too, these signs will be relied upon to help faculty and staff lead their students through any protocols that may be in place.
Signs for Colleges and Universities
Colleges and Universities often have the same needs as elementary, middle, and high schools, but on a grander scale. Students are also often freer to roam without permission, or a guide, and thus rely increasingly on wayfinding systems.
Even with a comprehensive tour, no doubt most students on their first day feel a sense of disorientation, and with the help of these directional and wayfinding signs they will find their classes and overtime get the hang of their new surroundings.
Dorms and Residence Halls
Aside from a small selection of secondary schools, dorms and residence halls are often unique to colleges and universities. These require signage similar, if not precisely like, other apartment and residential complexes, and these can include everything from visiting hour signs, to room #’s, to rules in public spaces like laundry rooms or other common areas.
Likewise the average primary and secondary school does not have a food court, and while some colleges and universities only have cafeterias serving their own food, many also include franchises be it Taco Bell, Starbucks, or other known food and beverage businesses.
These are not always regulated in the same way as a franchise; however, these businesses do often have their own rules for signage, and they will need to be taken into account too for school management and the sign companies who work on these projects.
Electronic Message Centers
Thus far we’ve discussed primarily wayfinding signage; however, monument signs, pylon signs, and other exterior signs play an important role as well in both welcoming people and marketing news, events, or the school’s values to the public.
One tool that’s become increasingly essential for delivering these messages is the use of electronic message centers. These can be placed either on a monument sign or a pylon sign, depending on the school’s preference and permit allowability through the local municipality.
Campus Curb Appeal
Though many primary and secondary schools students are zoned to these schools, even they, along with private schools, colleges and universities, must consider how signage can help with the overall ‘curb appeal’ of the school.
Curb appeal quite simply is the look and feel of a place as it appears when walking or driving by said place, and for schools that especially have to recruit students this can be a major component of a student’s first impression of a school and especially its campus.
Signs play an integral component here, and Electronic Message Centers can help, but also road banners around the campus, or on main drives through the campus, along with vinyl signage on exterior windows that help brand the school.
ADA Signage is a crucial component with all wayfinding signage in all schools, as it is required in any public building or institution. Schools more and more are ensuring that they are fully accessible places, and even without government mandates they turn to ADA signage specs to ensure they fulfill their own mission to be fully inviting and open.
ADA signage isn’t simply just about putting braille on a sign as well, so it’s important to work with a sign company who understands what goes into ADA and can fabricate ADA signs for your needs.