When was the last time you performed an architectural signage audit? An architectural signage audit? What the heck is an architectural signage audit, and why is it so important?
How often have you gone to a restaurant or retail establishment and noticed that something wasn’t right, the look of the place wasn’t up to par? Perhaps shelves were messy or the artwork on the wall had turned purple or green from age or there was still promotional material displayed featuring holiday specials for a holiday that had passed months earlier.
“Store Blindness” Makes Noticing Signage That Needs Updating More Difficult
It is easy to grow unaware of ones surroundings. Each day we go to our office, medical facility, classroom, retail establishment, or wherever it is that we work. We become so accustomed to our environment that we could literally stumble over an obstacle without even realizing that it was there. This phenomenon is what many in retail businesses refer to as “store blindness.”
Signage is not immune to this occurrence. Years ago there was a TV series that was adapted from a hit Off-Broadway comedy called “Hot l Baltimore.” The story took place in a fictional hotel in Baltimore, Maryland and the show got its name from a broken neon sign above its entrance where the “e” in “Hotel” was burned out. The hotel was as rundown as the sign out front so the broken sign served well as the symbol for the show.
It is no coincidence that “Hot l Baltimore” chose a sign to represent the hotel. Signage in general, and architectural signage in particular, symbolizes your establishment. It both signifies and builds your brand along with its being a crucial wayfinding tool. If your signage is broken, out of date or misleading, people will become confused and lost. But that’s not all. What does broken or incorrect signage say about your brand?
Signage That’s Broken, Out of Date or Inadequate Hurts Your Brand
Signage is extremely visible. If your signage is broken or incorrect your customers, visitors, vendors, students and/or patients are likely to question everything that goes on behind the scenes. If what’s visible is in disrepair, what isn’t visible must be far worse. They will lose faith in the products or services that you provide and the sad thing is you won’t even be aware this is happening. Furthermore, they will tell others. Word of mouth is well known to be the best marketing tool but it can also erode your brand’s reputation.
The good news is that you can easily make sure that your architectural signs remain in top condition, are accurate and continue to be the advocates for your brand that you need them to be. Major restaurant and retail chains often perform store tours a few times a year having a group of their managers from nearby restaurants or stores tour each other’s establishment. The managers comment on the pluses and minuses observed at each location visited. Managers take copious notes on comments about their own restaurant or store. They amass a list of needed, but previously unnoticed, repairs and updates, which are critical to the appearance and operation of their business. Each manager then addresses the items on their list to improve the appearance and function of their facility.
How to Perform an Architectural Signage Audit
Quarterly architectural signage audits are easy to perform. Grab a co-worker or two to join your signage tour. Before starting your inspection, request everybody to clear their minds so that they can examine your signage as if it was their first time at your facility. As you proceed with the audit take good notes listing any items that need attention.
To conduct your audit, start examining your exterior signage. Are your exterior signs in good shape? Make note of any signs that need to be repaired or replaced because of breakage or no longer being accurate. Also, check all exterior signage at night as well as during the day so that you are certain that the lighting is still functioning properly. Is any landscaping needed so that signage remains attractive and isn’t overrun by vegetation? Do any exterior signs need to be replaced because they are no longer correct or do new signs need to be ordered because of changes to your facility?
Next, walk through the inside of your facility and carefully examine your interior signage. Are the wayfinding directions that the interior signs provide still accurate and plentiful enough? Are the names and titles on signs still current? Check any directories to assure that they no longer list tenants or employees that are no longer in the building and that they reflect any moves or new hires that may have taken place. Are any signs in need of repair or replacement or cleaning?
Be sure to check your digital signage as well to make sure that it is in excellent working order. Also, review all screen content to assure that it is up-to-date. Like the store promoting a sale for a holiday that passed months ago, you don’t want your digital signs delivering messages that no longer apply.
Conduct Quarterly Architectural Signage Audits
A major benefit of working with ASI is that our concern for clients extends beyond designing, fabricating and installing architectural signage. ASI is committed to assist you in keeping your signage in top shape and accurate. Remember to perform quarterly architectural signage audits and contact your local ASI signage consultant if signs need to be repaired, updated or replaced or if additional signs are needed so that your signage continues to build your brand and provide optimal wayfinding capabilities for years to come.