Sign Design – A 5 Step Plan

west hall care home signageGood Sign Design Starts Here

Stocksigns has been manufacturing signs for more than fifty years and in that time we have been able to advise our customers on the principles of sign design. Now the range of signage applications, together with the ever growing list of materials and manufacturing techniques available, means there are an infinate number of design factors to take into consideration. Rather than going into design elements in terms of colours and fonts, here are some simple steps that can be taken to help you with sign design and choice.

These steps can be divided into;

  • Step 1 Signage function
  • Step 2 Sign Check List
  • Step 3 Do’s and Don’ts
  • Step 4 Legislative requirements
  • Step 5 Environmental considerations

Step 1 Signage Functions.

What do you want your sign or signage to do? The types of sign function can be broadly devided into.

  • Information
  • Directional
  • Brand/Corporate Image
  • Company Culture/mission statements
  • Health & safety
  • Motivational
  • Advertising

Part of the design of your sign will depend on its intended use and function, but don’t forget a sign can be designed to carry out more than one job. Your directional and wayfinding signs can also carry your logo and be designed using your company colours and fonts, helping to build  corporate brand, while carrying out its primary task of guiding staff and visitors. Even health and safety signs can be branded, as long as your company details don’t impede the delivery of the safety message or render the sign non-compliant with  safety legislation.

Step 2 Sign Check List

This step is designed as a series of questions to consider while choosing and designing your signs. They provide a framework of elements to consider to make sure you get the sign you both want and need.

Is the sign really necessary? An over use of signs can cause ‘sign blindness’. Try to avoid this by only creating the essential signs, and by making those you do create, work hard and do the job well.

Is it informative/give the right message? Different people interpret different things in different ways. Show your design to others for their opinion and interpretation. Have they read the sign in the way you intended? Adjust your text until you are sure that the message you want is being conveyed clearly.

Is the sign in the optimum position? Approach the proposed sign site from different directions. A site survey can help in this situation. From what distance does the sign need to be visiable from? Are there any obstructions to the view?

Longevity. How long do you need the sign to work for you? Most signage needs to be fixed permanently. Have you selected a material that will cope with the environmental pressures? Is the sign in a public place? Is there a lot of pedestrian traffic? Do you need something with high environmental resistance like vitreous enamel? Alternatively is the sign required for just a short time? If you are designing event signs you will probably want something that is cost effective and easy to put up and take down. Do you need to update the sign frequently? Room functions for example can often change, if so choose a solution that will offer you flexibility.

If you are using a sign system, does it fulfil all the requirements e.g. corporate identity, legisation, function and adaptability?

Step 3 Dos and Dont’s

This step is just some general advice and common sense but serves as a guide.

  • Don’t over kill – less is often more (again avoid sign blindness)
  • Do get a site survey from a reputable sign company if in any doubt about legislation or requirements.
  • Do it properly. No half harted effort i.e. plan the project, mistakes can be costly.
  • Do consider your employees and colleagues needs.
  • Do think about future developments – how easy will it be to add or update signs
  • Don’t use short cuts
  • Do try and achieve a uniform structure to the signage scheme – aim for consistancy through-out all your signs

Step 4 Legislative Requirements

braille fire exit signsDepending on the type or function of your sign there may be legislative obligations your sign needs to fulfil. Symbols used in safety signage are covered by The Health & Safety (Safety Signs and Signals Regulations) 1966 and BS EN ISO 7010. The Disability Discrimination Act and the Technical Buletin 24 of the Joint Mobility Unit (now part of the RNIB’s Access Consultancy Services) may need to be consulted when considering access through your building. Some exterior signage may need planning permission particularly if the sign is illuminated or of a large size. While we can’t apply for planning permission on your behalf, we can advise you on whether you are likely to need it.

Step 5 Environmental Considerations

In step 2 we touched very lightly on some environmental considerations. The most obvious of which are is the sign to be located indoors or outdoors? what’s more does the sign have to be visible at night time? does ilumination have to be a consideration? Vitreous Enamel signs can tolerate a number of different environmental factors, resulting in long-lasting, vibrant, non-fade quality signs regardless of weather conditions or busyness of location, makinglectern
them ideal for wayfinding signage and street maps.

We hope that this simple guide will give you some ideas when choosing the type and style of the sign you require guide will help you when chosing the type and style of sign you require. For more help or information please contact our Sales Team on 01737 77 40 72 or sales@stocksigns.co.uk and we would be delighted to help you find the right sign design for you.

 

Jubilee Gardens – The Royal Opening by HRH The Queen

 

jubilee gardens lecternJubilee Gardens – Project outline

October 2012 saw the official opening of the newly redesigned Jubilee Gardens by HM The Queen.

Stocksigns is an established signage manufacturer serving the entire UK’s sign market but specialising in various niche areas where they have grown to be the leading sign experts.

Jubilee Gardens Project

Adriaan Wijsveld is Stocksigns’ specialist in parks and open spaces. He has completed many successful projects for councils and municipal gardens etc. His design background, coupled with his in-depth knowledge of the signage market enables him to work closely with his clients, not only to successfully manage large scale projects but also take on many of the design aspects of creating new products.

Adriaan was approached by The Small Back Room design agency, Waterloo, which was aware of Stocksigns’ expertise in Vitreous Enamel sign manufacture. They wanted Stocksigns to partner with them in a project to rejuvenate Jubilee Gardens in time for the 2012 celebrations.

The products included in the project were:

  • Vitreous Enamel pan trays
  • Vitreous Enamel Lecterns 
  • Vitreous Interpretation boards 
  • Engraved Slate
  • Engraved Stainless Steel

Read full story Case study SB – Jubilee Gardens (3)

Street Name plates, where do street names come from?

The Origins of London’s Street Names

ST Paul churchyard street name plate, road name, road signsStocksigns has been manufacturing street name plates for many years. Over this time we have seen not only the style of signs change but also some of the roads’ actual names change. So we thought we would take a look at how some streets have gained their names.

According to the BBC, The City of London contains no roads. There are plenty of streets, squares and alleys, but traditionally not a single road. The reason for the historic anomaly is because the word ‘road’ was not coined until the late 16th Century, after nearly all the thoroughfares in the ancient City had already been named.

Before the 19th century, street names were typically generic and descriptive, usually named after the goods sold in them e.g. Bread Street. After this it became commonplace for streets to bear the name of renowned figures from British history. But while it is obvious where some streets derive their names, others have been corrupted over the centuries and have altogether less obvious roots. Just for fun we have listed some of the London road names and their origins. To find out more about London’s historic roads visit http://www.londononline.co.uk/streetorigins/.

Godliman street wall mounted street signGodliman Street, (EC4)  

It is not easy to account for the origin of the name as applied to this street, but “Godelmynges” were a kind of cordwain made from the skin of a young animal, this name being apparently derived from Godalming, where the trade of tanning is still carried on (Lib. Albus, I. 231, and III. 323).

From: ‘Globe Yard – Gofairlane’, A Dictionary of London (1918). URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63143  

cannon sreet name plate Cannon Street, (EC4)

A corruption of Canwick, or Candlewick Street, which took its name from being the abode of candle-makers. In this street also, many weavers of woollen cloth were settled in business, having been brought from Flanders by Edward III, and their meetings were held in the churchyard of St. Lawrence Poultney. (Reference: Smith’s Streets of London, p. 381)

Leadenhall street name plateLeadenhall Street, (EC3)

So called from “Leaden Hall,” a large and ponderous-looking mansion inhabited about the year 1309 by Sir Hugh Neville. In 1408 it was purchased by Whittington, Lord Mayor of London, who presented it to the Corporation. (Reference: Jesse’s London, vol. II, p. 341)

Downing street name plateDowning Street, (SW1)

Derives its name from Sir George Downing, Secretary to the Treasury in the reign of Charles II. Here stands the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury, conferred by George II on his favourite minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and on his successors in that high office for ever. (Reference: Jesse’s London, vol. I, p. 165)

Stocksigns  manufactures high quality street nameplates for many councils and boroughs. Signs can be manufactured using a variety of materials and techniques. Using traditional sign making techniques such as die pressed metal or vitreous enamel, not only look good, but are often the most long lasting solutions.  Contact our Sales Team for more information.

Vitreous Enamel Signs – How are they made?

vitreous enamel signsVitreous enamel signs have been used for over a 100 years. However the enamelling process is believed to date back much further. We are often asked why people still choose vitreous enamel signs over more modern products. The answer is simple, nothing can compare to vitreous enamel signs in terms of;

  • Fire retardant properties – Vitreous Enamel signs are chosen for underground applications
  • Low maintenance – Very hard wearing
  • Environmental resistance – ideal for corrosive industrial or severe atmospheres
  • Long life – look as good as new for forty years or more
  • Vandal Resistance – graffiti and impact resistance

These exceptionally hard wearing and aesthetically pleasing signs are often still the preferred choice for many designers. The typical hard wearing qualities associated with Vitreous Enamel are created during the skilled manufacturing process. We have created a short film to give you a brief idea of what is involved.

The Vitreous Enamel Signs Manufacturing process

Signs for the DDA – Rail Signs Guide

signs for the DDA Click here for our DDA rail signage guide pdf

Rail Signs from Stocksigns

All surface rail companies are constantly striving to provide better access and a better travelling experience for all their customers. Stocksigns plays a key part in helping train operators deliver these improvement projects through careful management of the accompanying signage.

DDA and SFA

A Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) or Step Free Access (SFA) improvement scheme is designed to supplement access and egress around a station.

As part of this scheme, Network Rail have undertaken a comprehensive program to improve many of its managed station facilities. Under the Disabled Peoples Protection Policy (DPPP), access to platforms is being improved. This usually means the provision of a new footbridge with lifts, or when possible, lift towers developed next to an exisiting footbridge, giving a step free route between platforms.

Rail Signage

Although schemes are sponsored by Network Rail, in most cases the signage should be complementary to what exists at present on the station.

Station signage is usually specific to individual operators. Most train operators have their own typeface, colour scheme and corporate identity that specifies what is required.

Read more about Rail Signs for the DDA

Vitreous Enamel Signs Guide

vitreous enamel signs Where you must absolutely NOT use  Vitreous Enamel Signs

If You Care about Your Signage – Don’t use Vitreous Enamel Signs (VE)

1. When you don’t want your signs to last a long time.
Why? –  Vitreous Enamel is notorious for its vastly extended life over other materials. They will look as good as new even after 40 years, making them an ideal long term signage solution.

2. When there is NO chance of any corrosion
Why?  – Vitreous Enamel’s glass-like properties protect the whole sign so that it is safe from attack from corrosion. That’s why they are specified for marine environments because they can resist attack from salt. Applications range from oil platforms to the logo’s on ships’ funnels.

3. When chemicals such as acids and alkalis are not going to be a threat.
Why? –  Vitreous Enamel has amazing resistance to most chemicals, including solvents. This makes them ideal for corrosive, industrial, or severe atmospheres.

4. When the finish and aesthetics of your signs are unimportant to you.
Why? – Vitreous Enamel’s lustrous surface appearance, “relief effect” of the enamel layers and the wide range of colours and designs available mean that Vitreous Enamel Signs are very pleasing to the eye. Because of this they are frequently used for decoration, especially in pubs, restaurants and hotels and used as a specialist medium for many artists.

5. When your sign will never be subject to mechanical abrasion.
Why? – Vitreous Enamel has the advantage of being virtually scratch proof compared with other materials, giving it  great robustness. This is one of the reasons why vitreous enamel is often specified for wayfinding lecterns in busy cities where there is a high level of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

6. When you are keen to be involved in regular sign maintenance.
Why? – Vitreous Enamel’s hard surface makes the signs very easy to keep clean, restoring the original brightness with a wipe. This quality has made vitreous enamel the preferred choice for electricity pylon identity plates where access is notoriously difficult.

7. When you don’t mind the colours in your sign fading.vitreous enamel signs
Why? – Vitreous Enamel’s colourfastness ensures the sign looks as bright after many years as it did when first manufactured. Examples of vitreous enamel advertising signs dating from the 18oos still look as vibrant as when they were first displayed.

8. When there is no danger of a graffiti assault on your signs.
Why?  – Any graffiti on Vitreous Enamel signs can be removed with a solvent cleaner. Vitreous Enamel signs are often the first choice for councils, particularly for park and recreation ground signage.

9. When you don’t have to worry about extremes of temperature.
Why? –  Vitreous Enamel can withstand a very wide variation in temperature, and is very fire resistant, which is why it is specified in London Underground stations.

10. When you have no interest in life time cost of your signs.
Why? – Vitreous Enamel Sign’s durability, longevity and brightness makes this material extremely cost effective over time. Their long life often means that vitreous enamels signs pay for themselves over and over again during long term projects.

So here in a nutshell are reasons for NOT using Vitreous Enamel Signs.

Tips for the Care and Installation of Vitreous Enamel Signs

Care & Installation of Vitreous Enamel signs

1    What is Vitreous enamel?

    Vitreous enamel is a glass-like coating which is fused onto steel at
    temperatures of 750-860 degrees C
    The enamel will exhibit all of the properties associated with glass including :
         •Hardness                                          •Colour Stability
         •Scratch & Graffiti Resistance           •Fire Resistance

care of vitreous enamel signs2     Vitreous enamel signs need to be carefully treated as if they were glass:


    a)    Carefully remove signs & any fixings from packaging.

    b)     Handle with care using protective gloves as there may be sharp edges & avoid dropping or hitting the signs.

    c)     Use stainless steel, brass or zinc coated fixings.

    d)     Ensure a soft protective washer ( plastic or fibre ) is used at all fixing points between the fixing & the sign surface.

    e)   Do not drill or enlarge holes as this will crack the enamel

    f)      Clean every two months with mild soapy water – ensuring there are no abrasives or grit on the cloth or sponge . For  stubborn marks use a non    abrasive bathroom cleaner.

3     Installation of Vitreous Enamel Signs


    a)    An enamelled sign pantray with return edges should never be fixed directly onto a hard or rough surface – the installation of vitreous enamel signslocalised compression which could occur on high points may cause chipping or spalling & possibly cause corrosion on the return edge.
    
    b)     Where an enamelled sign has to be fixed to an uneven or rough surface it should be spaced off from that surface to avoid localised pressure points.
    
    c)     If the sign is to be installed in a coastal or corrosive environment additional protection will be needed to the sign edge if slight corrosion is to be avoided. Edges of enamelled signs are  difficult to completely coat with enamel and so additional protection against corrosion may be equired. Protection can be given by exterior mastic, waterproof tape  or a rubber or plastic moulding. Alternatively the edge can be protected & hidden by an outer frame. Our technical sales department will be fixing vitreous enamel signshappy to advise.protecting vitreous enamel signs For more information about Vitreous Enamel signage contact our sales team at sales@stocksigns.co.uk

Vitreous Enamel Signs – New Gallery

Due to popular demand we have made some of our Vitreous Enamel Sign Pictures available to view. Enthusiasts and collectors from all round the world ask us for images of these iconic signs. Made from exceptionally hard-wearing Vitreous Enamel these signs have stood the test of time and look good as new for 40 years plus!

Shell Oil Vitreous Enamel Advertising Sign

For more about Vitreous Enamel Signs and Stocksigns visit our vitreous enamel signs page.

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