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Signage Quick Hits: Wayfinding and Architectural Signage for Public Spaces

We feel the need for a little disclosure before getting into the signage quick hit topics below. If the reader is not already aware, the Conversations about Signage blog is authored by an architectural signage company that also creates and implements wayfinding solutions. We gain business and profit from construction projects that call for more signage. However, bringing attention to the issues below is not an attempt to get business from a specific project. We feel that signage and wayfinding are constantly getting the short end of the stick, and yet a good signage and wayfinding solution makes the clear difference between a good visitor experience or a bad visitor experience for any facility. Consequently, people who have a bad experience are 3 times more likely to tell people about “how bad this place is” and less likely to return to the place for future business.

So we ask — does it really makes sense for an organization to skimp when it comes to creating good wayfinding and signage solutions? You be the judge….and feel free to comment.

“Metro Stations’ design is appreciated, but Lack of Signage is Not” 

The column, written by John Kelly and published by the Washington Post talks about people’s experiences and feedback regarding signage and the idea behind using environmental graphics — or in this case, it is referred to decorative designs — to differentiate one stop or station from another. We are sensitive to the need to keep public spending in check in these troubled financial times, but spending on projects like this not only make a positive impact on people every day, the spending would also benefit local or state signage and design companies. Here is a short excerpt from the column. Be sure to read the entire column by clicking the link above.

“Steve Auerbach of Bethesda has a different concern: When he’s dozed off for a moment, how does he know which station he’s at when all he can see are uniform, bland concrete walls? “Sure the drivers announce the stops,” he wrote, “but we all know they are incomprehensible and when I wake from a ‘short nap’ the announcement I slept through about the next station does not help one bit. “If they all have to look alike, there have to be many more identifying signs.” That’s my biggest gripe, too. I was on the platform at Silver Spring the other day when the PA announced the next train would be terminating at Union Station. There is not a single, system-wide map on the platform at Silver Spring that I could have used to re-plan my route using the Green Line.”

Digital Exterior Sign Fights Back against Local Government

The following story makes us giggle. We realize local codes and regulations are usually put in place with the best of intentions, but sometimes they can cause unintended or unwanted stress on the wrong people or businesses. Here is a short excerpt from the article published on the The Winston-Salem Journal. Be sure to click this link to read the full story…and get the “butt” of the joke.

“A restaurant in Winston-Salem is using its electronic sign to send a message to City Hall. For the past month, James Moury, who owns Upper Crust Pizza Parlor on Silas Creek Parkway, has been taunting City Hall by using his LED sign to continue a long-running argument over the city’s electronic sign policy.”

Designing and Implementing ADA Signage Solutions that comply with Local ADA Signage Guidelines Can be Challenging

Since we talk about ADA and being able to understand it nationally but implement it locally, this proposed building code for a local California city would be an easy point to make about how states and cities impact building codes, and consequently, even ADA signage codes. Simply put, keeping up with every local city government’s ADA requirements and fire marshal’s preferences can be a real headache. One other note: if the folks are so concerned about the birds, why not figure out why the birds will not avoid the reflection of the bird that is flying straight for at them?

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