Navigating the Campus: Essentials for School Wayfinding Signage
In the bustling environment of a school or college campus, effective wayfinding is crucial to ensure that students, staff, and visitors find a classroom, restroom, or the main office. Wayfinding signage, though often overlooked, plays a pivotal role in guiding and informing, as well as maintaining safety. While many sectors use wayfinding signs, educational institutions have their own unique needs and challenges. In this article, we will lay out the core needs, best practices, and creative school signage ideas to boost school spirit.
Types of Wayfinding Signage in Education
More than just letters on boards, proper wayfinding signage is a system of visual cues and communication tools designed to guide and inform individuals as they navigate the hallways to their destination. Wayfinding signs can be broken down into four distinct types:
- Directional Signage - Generally guides visitors, students, and staff around campus.
- Identification Signage - Labels specific buildings, rooms, or areas.
- Informational Signage - Provides necessary information about facilities, schedules, or rules.
- Regulatory Signage - Gives specific directives, such as 'No Smoking'.
Crucial Considerations for School Wayfinding Signage
Although any institution can benefit from wayfinding signage, some factors simply cannot be ignored when it comes to educational facilities.
Emergency signage should cover every contingency and follow all regulations. Signage to consider includes:
- Emergency exits and navigation to them
- Fire alarms
- Fire extinguishers or water hoses
- Emergency phones to contact security
Vibrant and clearly visible signs help draw the eye, which is crucially important when people are lost. With walls often covered in posters, photos, and trophies, this critical information should be easy to spot in an instant. Remember to accommodate people with disabilities, such as adding braille to your signs, as full ADA compliance should be a goal for school wayfinding signage.
The desire to put every piece of information on your signage may be very strong, but remember to put yourself in the shoes of a new student or a guest. Can they look at the sign and understand where they should go or what they should do? Effective signage must provide key information without overwhelming or confusing readers.
Best Practices for Designing School Wayfinding Signage
The planning and design stages are the most crucial for school signage projects, so keep these principles in mind to maximize your signs’ utility:
Use simple, legible fonts and clear icons. Generally opt for sans-serif fonts. The further away people can stand and still read the words, the better. Avoiding a “wall of text” also prevents information overload.
Maintain the same design principles, color scheme, and layout across all signs. Visual consistency helps people find additional wayfinding signs quickly and helps them absorb the information more readily.
Signs should be equally visible to everyone, so schools with young students should consider placing signage lower. On the other hand, emergency signage is often up toward the ceiling so that people of all heights can read. The size of signs and fonts, plus the color palette, are main factors in visibility and legibility.
Choose materials that can withstand the test of time and the rigors of use. Outdoor wayfinding signage will be exposed to the elements year round, so material selection is important to plan. Investing in superior materials can save tremendous amounts of money by reducing the number of maintenance and repair costs over time.
Unique School Signage Ideas
Looking for creative ways to brighten up your hallways and boost school spirit? Here are some ideas to consider adding to your signage project:
- Interactive Digital Signage - Strategically placed touchpads can give people nuanced or customized information based on their needs.
- Thematic Signage - Incorporate your school’s colors, mascot, or other distinctive elements into your color palette and general design.
- Incorporating Student Art - Honor your students’ skills and hard work by adding their images to your signage. School competitions could determine the winners and drive interest and excitement.
- Eco-Friendly Signage - Choose sustainable materials for your signage to help do your part for the environment. Consider integrating plant-based elements to let people know.
Flexlume: Your Partner in School Wayfinding Signage
When it comes to schools or any educational institution, wayfinding signage is crucial to ensure safety and help people smoothly navigate on their own. That’s why it’s important to work with experienced school signage companies who know the entire process inside and out.
Flexlume has over 115 years of experience creating stunning and reliable commercial signage. As a vertically-integrated sign company, we support schools and universities in the design, manufacture, permit acquisition, and installation of all forms of indoor and outdoor signage. Our in-house maintenance service guarantees the people who repair your sign know everything about it (because they’re the ones who made it).
Our team is happy to answer any questions you may have, and are ready to get started on your school wayfinding signage project. Reach out to us today.