Self-Assured Signage: How to Ensure that Your Signs get Noticed.
Signage, we encounter it every day. Speed limits on the road, Covid signage in shops, allergy awareness in restaurants and general signage up on the wall at the office. They are a constant presence in our lives, so much so that they often get over-looked, ignored or misunderstood.
How many times have you been out for lunch and asked, “Where is the toilet”?only to be shown a sign that you somehow missed right in front of your eyes?
Or attempted to pay with your credit card before noticing the ‘cash only’ sign that was on the entrance door?
The vast amount of information that our brains process each and every second means that sometimes not everything goes in as we would like. This can lead to us look at, but not really see signs.
When sourcing or creating signage remember these few tips to make sure that your signs are seen by employees and customers.
What are the Signage Categories?
There are a huge number of categories of signs, here are a few of the more common ones that we are likely to come across on a day to day basis:
- Covid signage.
- Fire safety signage.
- Road signage.
- Workplace/ workplace safety signage.
- General health and safety signage.
- Directional signage – signage up, down, left & right.
- Warning/ hazard signage – stop signs, do not enter.
- Commercial signage – toilets signs, pay here signs etc.
Now you have an idea of the types of signs available, here are the top factors to keep in mind when getting your signage up.
Simple is more Effective.
Most people love to let their creativity flow when making something new. There is a tendency to over-think things. Why have a sign for just one thing when you could use it to tell people multiple pieces of information?
For example, should you make a piece of covid signage informing people they must; wash or sanitise their hands upon entry, keep 2 meters apart and always wear a mask?
Well, the chances are if you put too much information on one piece of signage people are unlikely to remember all of it and less likely to retain anything the sign says at all. This is again due to an over-load of information. Studies suggest that we are more likely to remember something on a sign if it has four to seven words. The covid signage would be much easier to remember and understand with the instructions displayed as separate signs.
Therefore, when creating or buying your signs remember that less is more and dedicate your sign to one piece of information.
When in Doubt Make it Bold
Simplicity is key, but signs still need to stand out. We are constantly visually observing our surroundings and our eyes are drawn to objects out of the ordinary. Symmetrical designs are more likely to pull our attention, as are bright colours and bold fonts. Depending on the environment where the sign is placed, novelty images can work to draw our eyes. An animal or a photo of a person is striking as people often seek eye contact, therefore using this type of imagery on a sign means people are more likely to retain the information associated with the picture. In some workplaces these signs may not be appropriate, so choose a sign with clean lines, a block primary colour (red/blue/ yellow) and be concise with the information when putting your signage up.
Stick to What You Know
From a very young age people learn to read and obey different signs. Therefore, attempting to re-imagine a familiar sign will most likely result in the information being ignored or forgotten. Of course, there are no rules against using your imagination to create a new sign, but for important health and safety signage such as: danger signs, stop signs, keep out signs and covid signage (e.g. wear a mask), you should use a well-known format. This includes the colour scheme as well as lay out so that people are able to see and understand the information, keeping them safe and out of harm’s way.