Directories and Wayfinding Signs – A design guide

directories and wayfindingDirectories and Wayfinding

Directories and wayfinding sign systems aim to make navigation around unfamiliar grounds and buildings as simple as possible. These signs are often the first point of contact a customer has with your company and first impressions count.

This short film is a “How to” guide to creating the best designs for directories and wayfinding signs.

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.

Top 10 signage areas to consider for the Disability Discrimination Act

disabled toilet sign

Safety signs and Disability Discrimination Act

On October 1st 2004 the final stage of the goods, facilities and services provisions part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act came into force. Although the legislation has been in place for some time our need to meet the guidelines is still firmly in place. This article is a reminder of what we need to consider in terms of signs and our obligations to the DDA.

The aim of this legislation is to achieve equality between the disabled and able-bodied; it introduces a basic duty not to treat disabled people less favourably than others. The new basic duty or obligations apply to anyone providing a paid or unpaid service to the public. As a “service provider” you must ensure that access is available to all disabled people and that entry routes, facilities and all information are clearly defined and indicated by suitable signage. The regulations concern access, mobility and site signage, they apply to all service providers, ranging from large corporations to small businesses (not the owners of the premises).

Under recent changes to part 2 of the Act, all employers must now ensure that they do not discriminate against disabled people in terms of recruitment and employment conditions. Compliance with the DDA can be achieved effectively by most businesses within a modest budget; however, planning is essential to ensure that the disabled user is not at a disadvantage. The new provisions are a further important step towards ensuring that disabled people have access to services that others take for granted.

10 Sign areas to consider with the Disability Discrimination Act

 

You are required to make reasonable adjustments to your premises; the areas to be considered are the signing and marking of:

  1. designating car parking bays
  2. setting down points
  3. routes to and around buildings
  4. building entrances and exits
  5. directions to facilities i.e. lifts, stairs, reception, toilets, restaurants etc.
  6. information on additional services available to the disabled
  7. clear indication of help points
  8. emergency exit routes
  9. emergency disabled refuges
  10. the enhancement of general information signage

For additional advice on signage and the DDA we would recommend carrying out a site survey for your premises.

School Signs – Building School Identity with Signs

School Signs – Building School Identity with Signs.

There are several elements of school signage schemes that can be used to build school identity. These can range from clear branded welcome boards, navigation signs, information signs, down to standard health and safety signs. They all have their part to play in building school identity.

School Welcome Signs

The main school entrance signs and welcome boards are your first signage points of contact with staff, children, parents and visitors and are your primary identity builders. If you start with strong images and messages on these boards, these design elements can then be carried throughout the school and grounds on all the remaining signage.

school signs

noticeboard, school signs

Navigational  and Wayfinding School Signs

Wayfinding school signsYour wayfinding signs should carry the same branding elements e.g. school colours and logos etc as your “Welcome” School signs. Directories and wayfinding sign systems aim to make navigation around unfamiliar grounds and buildings as simple as possible. These signs are often the second point of contact after the “Welcome Boards” that people have with your school and first impressions count. As well as the functionality of the sign, design and aesthetics should be considered. School names and logos should be recognised at a glance and directional instructions should be instantly understood. An efficient way finding system will help new students orientate themselves quickly and alleviate some of the anxiety felt by new pupils. If they can find their way round easily from the start they will have a much more comfortable and relaxedwayfinding school signs start to their time at your school. All these small elements help to build a positive feel to the identity of the school. For more information on creating an efficient wayfinding system see our articles on How to use Signs to Build Company Brand – Part 2 Way Finding Signs  and  Planning Your Wayfinding .

 Information School Signs

Children’s information signs help to create boundaries and guidelines to keep children safe. By publishing some of the guidelines you advertise your commitment to safety and to children’s personal and social development. Our article on using  school and playground signs as 

school signs

teaching aids illustrates how they can be used to promote people skills and relationship building as well as traditional learning. For general information signs and notices use your school colours and keep the font used the same throughout. Even the simplest of information signs benefits from adding your school logo – adding Banners for schoolsauthority to your messages. Use bright 3D Pictorial signs in your premises, these not only soften harsh building environments and add colour but work as teaching aids and can help students with learning difficulties. Use banners not only to advertsise school events in the community but also to celebrate success.

They can be used to display fundraising targets, results or just good news.

School Safety Signs

Safety signs have an obvious purpose – they are used to protect and guide pupils, staff and visitors. There is a legislative obligation to have the correct signage in place. However if you have to have them you may as well get them to work harder and promote your school identity. Add you school logo or name to help create uniformity throughout the school. Use braille sign versions of safety signs to aid your commitment to DDA regulations and children with special needs. Many signage companies will carry our signs site surveys to make sure you are complying with the latest safety legislation giving peace of mind to staff and parents.

By careful planning your signs can do so much more, whether replacing worn-out signs or going through a refurbishment make sure every sign you purchase works hard in terms of functionality but also helps reflect your school identity.

 For more information on school signs take a look at our “Signs for Schools” guide.

How to use Signs to Build Company Brand – Part 2 Way Finding Signs

custom made signs, bespoke totemWelcome to part 2 of How to use signs to Build Company Brand – Wayfinding Signs.

You don’t need to be a Marketing Guru to know that advertising helps promote a business and is vital to success. There are many ways to advertise and signs are one way of the most cost-effective and visual ways to do so. There are many forms of signs, each with their own roles to play within a business. Signs can be divided into four main groups: corporate signage, wayfinding signs, information signs and safety signs. Part 1 of this guide concentrated on how to get the best from your Corporate Signage. In Part 2 we are going to look at how you can use your functional wayfinding signs as part of your company branding campaign.

Directories and way findingsign systems aim to make navigation around unfamiliar grounds and buildings as simple as possible. These signs are often the first point of contact a customer has with your company and first impressions count. As well as functionality of the sign, design and aesthetics should be considered. Company names and logos need to be recognised at a glance and directional instructions should be instantly understood. By using the same colour themes and logos, your signage system can carry your brand identity throughout.

Graphically the signs should display your name and logo to its best advantage, different signage styles will suit differentway finding sign systems, cusom made signage and directories company brands, for example free standing monoliths have the advantage of having a large surface area to display additional graphic features to create impact and drama. How ever the functionality of your wayfinding signs and directories will also effect how your company is perceived. A complicated confusing signage system will custom made signs, monolithgive visitors a negative experience of your company no matter how well your logo is displayed. To help create a simple and effective navigation see our article on planning your wayfinding system

Don’t forget your internal signs – wayfinding and directories are an essential part of interior design and can influence a visitors perception of your company and the brand you are trying to create.  By choosing an internal sign system such as a Slatz system or similar your sign theme can be carried from desk topdoor name plate, door slider, occupied, vacant signs through to suspended signs and directories.

Stocksigns‘ extensive project management experience ensures that maximum benefit can be generated from your wayfinding: a system should be clear and simple but also help to strengthen your corporate identity. From planning routes, advising on styles to complete installation we can guide you through the whole process.

Part 3 of How to use signs to build company brand is coming soon – part 3 will concentrate on using general information signs to build brand as well as inform your staff and visitors.


Wayfinding and signage in London

London is a great city for walking. The Mayor’s vision is to make it one of the world’s most walking friendly cities by 2015. Walking is an enjoyable, free and accessible activity and for most people, a necessary part of london, signage schemestheir everyday journeys.

Legible London is a wayfinding project designed to improve the navigation throughout the Capital for people who want to walk. A study conducted on behalf of Transport for London found that the present multitude of standard signs in  central London are ineffective and often confusing, and that there was a consequent over-reliance on the Tube map to help people navigate above ground. External directories and wayfinding sign systems can simplify the journey around unfamiliar grounds. Continue reading

How to use Signs to Build Company Brand – Part 1 Corporate Signage

You don’t need to be a Marketing Guru to know that advertising helps promote a business and is vital to success. There are many ways to advertise and signs are one way of the most cost-effective and visual ways to do so. There are many forms of signs each with their own roles to play within a business. Signs can be divided into  four main groups: corporate signage, way finding, information and safety signs. Part 1 of this guide will concentrate on how to get the best from your Corporate Signage.monolith, signs, custom made signs, signage Continue reading

Door Signs and Nameplates – a Signage Guide

Door signs and nameplates are often overlooked in a new build or company revamp, often considered a small detail that is left to the last minute to sort out. However careful planning early on in the project can help you avoid costly mistakes.

office door slider sign

Internal office door signs can be customised with your logo or company fonts. They create a unified design throughout the whole building and help reinforce your company or brand values. Stocksigns can offer you a huge variety of internal door signs in materials including engraved wooden or metal signs such as brass, plastics, glass and layered effects, many have matching interior panels, signposts and external signs, contact us to discuss your ideas, and how we can guide you towards the best solution for your building. There are so many off the shelf and custom made door signs designs to choose from by asking yourself some simple questions at the start you can make sure you choose the right scheme for you.

Here are some factors to think about when choosing your customised internal door signs:

  • Corporate Values – What sort of image do you want to project?
  • Uniformity – Do you want the same look throughout your building?
  • Environment – Do your signs need to stand up to a lot of wear and tear?
  • Flexibility – Do you need to change the names on yours doors frequently?
  • Cost – Stocksigns can help you find the signs to fit your budget and show you how to mix and match with stock signs.
  • Accessibility – Do you want to consider any special needs of your customers or staff?

Office Door Sign

For More information see our more in depth Door sign and name plate guide

signage manufacturer

Planning Your Wayfinding Signage & Sign Directories

Here are some factors to think about when choosing your External customised Sign Directories and Way Finding Signage Systems.

  • When Planning your custom made signs or way finding scheme it is best to physically walk the route, obstructions such as trees and other signage are often not marked on flat plans.
  • If possible get someone who is not familiar with the area to help. Their unfamiliarity will ensure your signs are placed in exactly the right place to make navigation easy.
  • A sign site survey from Stocksigns becomes invaluable in these situations.

Sign Directories

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