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church wayfinding sign - Connecting Signs

Everything to Know About Directional and Wayfinding Signs

Triangular Pylon Wayfinding Sign - Connecting Signs

Triangular Pylon Wayfinding Sign

The thing about directional signs, also known as “wayfinding” signs, is that they are often the last thing on your mind. This is until you’re lost and need some direction! The beautiful thing about directional signage is that they’re supposed to be noticed by those who need to find important facilities, but they should easily blend in with the surrounding architecture and interior design layout. A successful directional sign plan takes time, patience, and organization. In these next few paragraphs, we’ll go over some tips and options for organizing a comprehensive directional sign plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Sure Your Directional Signs are Useful

church wayfinding sign - Connecting Signs

Outdoor Directional Sign

The best way to begin your directional sign plan is to put yourself if the shoes of your guests who will need to know where the exits are, where the restrooms are, and other important areas. Following suggestions from your local building inspector is a good place to start as well but take some time to walk through the space to understand the directional signage needs. Map out the important and heavy-traffic areas where directional signs will need to be located. Consider a high-contrasting color scheme to help the text stand out if the directional signs have size restrictions.

Keep the Message (Stupidly) Simple

When people are rushing to get somewhere and suddenly, they need to know where a restroom is, they will depend on directional signs that are clear, specific, and simple to guide them to the nearest restroom. Think about the last time you were in an airport and realize that an environment like that can be really distracting and overwhelming. Airport signs are a perfect example of when it’s necessary to place signage in the best place so that they can be seen and read at the right time by the right people!

Adapt and Revise as Needed

Once your directional signs are up and functioning, notice how people interact with them and adapt to ensure that they are functioning as intended. Keep directional signs clean and free of obstructions. It’s also a good idea to double-check that illuminated directional signs are fully functioning and to replace and fix them the minute a sign goes dark. Not everyone always gets directional signs right the first time, so allow yourself some grace to change things up. Maybe that directional wall-mounted sign is not being seen as it should, so consider a ceiling mount system for that sign. There are always different options and sometimes you’ve got to go through them all to find the right option for you!

indoor directional sign

Indoor Directional Sign

Customize Directional Signs to Keep People Happy

Directional signs can be tricky to plan out, especially if your building has several tenants and even more so if your tenants are open to the public. Your tenants’ customers will need to easily find their locations by using these, and if they are not correct, those customers will not be very happy. The way to get around this issue is to utilize directional signage that has changeable tenant panels. Custom directional signs are more expensive but will have a long and useful life directing customers and other people around your building.

If you’re looking to get started on your directional sign project, request a free quote here. Let us help you elevate your and wayfinding signs to their fullest potential. Connecting Signs guarantees all of our work to ensure that your signs are designed, manufactured, and installed in a timely and efficient manner.

custom braille signs - Signage Company - Connecting Signs

ADA Signs, Symbols, and Communication

Acrylic ADA Restroom Signs - Connecting Signs

Acrylic ADA Restroom Signs

What are Pictograms?

Symbols have been used for many, many years to provide a communication short-cut that allows for instant understanding between people who may not speak the same language or who communicate in a different way. Symbols have been an integral component of universal signage for many years as well. In these modern times, the symbols that appear on signs are called: pictograms. Pictograms specifically appear on ADA signs which allows for important room identification communication (i.e., restroom signs, stairwell signs, elevator signs, etc.).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADA Restroom Signage - Connecting Signs

ADA Restroom Signage

ADA signs and Pictograms

Since pictograms are representations of objects or rather of a desired action, there needs to be cohesive symbols that are utilized for all specific signs. For example, an ADA compliant accessible women’s restroom sign is required to show the universal symbol for women as well as the universal symbol for accessibility. When someone visits a public space and they need to use the restroom, they can just look for the corresponding pictogram and locate the restroom they need to use. So, if they visit another public area on another day, they will know to look for the sign that has the pictogram that designates their restroom.

 

 

 

Required and Recommended Pictograms

Anytime a sign exists to assist the disabled, there needs to be a corresponding pictogram that appears on the sign. These signs provide direction and designation of accessible spaces, and certain pictograms are required to appear on them. The international symbol of accessibility, the international symbol of TTY, the symbol for a volume control telephone, and assistive listening systems symbols are all required pictograms for ADA signs. The symbols that are featured on restroom signs are mostly recommended to feature the pictogram for men or women. All gender restrooms do not need to feature either symbol, but a pictogram of a toilet can be used as it is a universal symbol that designates a restroom.

 

 

 

all gender ada restroom sign

All gender ADA changing room sign

Pictogram Options

There are other symbols that can be featured on ADA signs, but they are not required by ADA standards. These symbols include:

  • No entry
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid
  • Defibrillator
  • Hand wash station
  • No smoking
  • Biohazard
  • Baby changing station
  • Exit stairs
  • Radiation area

 

 

 

Although these symbols are not required for ADA sign standards, they can be useful to certain industries and may even be required for certain regulatory industries, buildings, or states. Double-check with your local government to ensure that you’re compliant under their guidelines.

 

 

college ada signs - Connecting Signs

Understanding Compliant ADA Signs

college ada signs

Signage and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was first signed into law on July 26, 1990. However, people with disabilities were fighting for inclusive and accessible spaces long before ADA became law. ADA signs are an integral part of compliant public and commercial spaces. There are specific rules to follow when creating your ADA sign plan. Rules like sign installation height and location, lettering height, braille, and color combinations are in place to create unity and continuity throughout public areas.

wood ADA sign

Rules for Compliant ADA Signs

Firstly, the lettering on ADA signs needs to be in a sans serif font and all the lettering needs to be uppercase. The width of ADA signs is dependent on the letting height. The minimum letter height for ADA signs is 5/8 of an inch while the maximum letter height is two inches. Lettering also needs to be featured in acrylic tactile that is at least 1/32 inch deep. Pictograms require an area six inches in height to be ADA compliant. Braille needs to be clear, domed, and grade II. Lastly, all the lettering and pictogram features need to be in a non-glare finish and must contrast with the backer of the sign.

Acrylic ADA signs

 

When Braille is Required for ADA Signs

Not every interior sign requires grade II braille. Only signs that designate permanent rooms and spaces like restroom signs, exit signs, room number signs, and elevator signs need compliant braille and uppercase lettering. Directional signs, wayfinding signs, and overhead signs do not require braille and are not required to have uppercase lettering. However, all of these types of signs must have materials with a non-glare finish and contrasting characters and symbols.

restroom ADA signs

How to Create Unique ADA signs

While there are a lot of rules and regulations attached to ADA compliant signage, there are still ways to incorporate creativity and uniqueness within an ADA sign project. Firstly, mixing contrasting colors and materials is a great way to make a statement. Utilizing a flatbed printer allows for acrylic to be printed with a unique design or a logo can also make a lasting impact. Keeping the different sign-types similar in design allows unifies the space and keeps confusion to a minimum.

custom ADA signs

Get Your ADA Signs Ordered Today

Don’t wait to order your required ADA signs! There’s a lot of time required to organize the sign schedule, design, manufacture, and install ADA signs. Request a quote from Connecting Signs today or give us a call at 970-493-0133 to speak with a member of our experienced staff to get your questions answered and your ADA sign project started!

Indoor Acrylic Signs - Connecting Signs

All About Indoor Acrylic Signs

Custom braille room signs

Interior-grade acrylic is one of the most common and affordable sign substrates available and is the perfect medium for indoor signs. Acrylic comes in different grades and thicknesses depending on what it will be used for and can easily be routed out into any shape or font. Acrylic has a nice smooth finish which makes it ideal for flatbed printing. Indoor acrylic signs can come in the form of way-finding directional signs, lobby area signs, reception desk signs, room identification signs and restroom signs.

 

 

 

Acrylic signs stand out as a preferred choice thanks in part to the material’s versatility, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Being available in lots of different colors and finishes allows for total control and customization! Acrylic is also stronger than glass, but half the weight. In the unfortunate event of a break, acrylic does not fracture like glass – acrylic fractures into big, dull-edged fragments. Maintaining and cleaning acrylic signs is very simple, although there is one rule: Never use abrasive liquids (like isopropyl alcohol) or ammonia-based detergents to clean acrylic signs. The best way to clean acrylic signs is to use a micro-fiber cloth and a mild detergent mixed with water.

Clear Acrylic Lobby Sign

Clear Acrylic Lobby Sign

Acrylic ADA Restroom Signs

Acrylic ADA Restroom Signs

While there is a lot of room for creativity in designing indoor acrylic signs, there’s also some rules that you might want to be aware of. Regulatory identification signs, like accessible restroom signs and room identification signs require a specific letter height/thickness, lettering color, background color, elevation, sign size, as well as grade II braille. These rules may seem restricting, but they’re intended to make public spaces more inclusive and accessible. On the plus side, simple and to-the-point is how to ensure that your message is seen and understood by the audience.

 

 

 

 

Getting your indoor acrylic signs started is simple from here! Follow this link to request a free quote, call Connecting Signs at 970-493-0133 for assistance in placing your sign order, or if you’re a Fort Collins local just stop by our showroom anytime!

brushed metal door wrap - Connecting Signs

Brushed Metal Door Wrap

Brushed Metal Door Wrap Tuft Construction & Development is in Denver, Colorado.  The company provides preconstruction, construction management, general contracting, and design services to ground-up residential and commercial projects.  Visit their website and as you browse through pictures of their projects, you will be impressed with their creativity and “out-of-the-box” thinking. 

Fort Collins directional Signs - Connecting Signs

Effective Indoor and Outdoor Directional Signs

You might not realize how important clear and readable signage is until you find yourself lost in an unfamiliar location. Directional signs are so useful and important because they tell us where to go and how to get there! Effective directional signs are ones that have large clear text in a color contrasting against its background. Any other necessary information like arrows or worded directions also are very visible and easy to read. Directional signs also need to be installed so that the customers can easily find them. As you can see, there are rules that should be followed for directional signs. However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t look good. An effective directional sign is also designed so that it looks like it belongs as well as helping people navigate.

Outdoor Fort Collins directional signs in the form of traffic signs or road signs on the highway are purely functional. They don’t need busy designs with lots of contrasting colors, just two colors: any dark-colored background and white letters. There’s a reason interstate road signs look the same, because white letters on top of a dark green background is one of the best color combinations. The white letters stand out so well against that background.

Indoor directional signs (also) mainly serve the purpose of guiding foot traffic so they also need to be simple and readable from far away. If you ever find yourself in a busy international airport with thousands of other people trying to find their gate or rushing to make their flight, you will notice that directional signs are everywhere! They all look the same, with clear lettering and symbols and contrasting colors.

Signs help people in many ways. It’s very important to make your signs work for you! Directional signage is just one of the many kinds of signs that are necessary for modern times. With innovations in the sign industry and new buildings being built all over, there is a big demand for directional signs that not only look good, but also serve a purpose.

colorful pixels - Connecting Signs

Sign Design – Raster vs. Vector Art & Resolution

Have you ever tried designing something on the computer? It’s not as easy as you would think! Graphic design has come so far from hand-drawn thumbnail sketches. Sketching out your ideas on a piece of paper is simple and un-constricting. However, if you want to transfer than design to the computer so you can further manipulate the artwork, you must understand the program you’re working in. The most basic way to get your design on the computer is to simply scan it or take a picture with your phone (smartphone) and upload it onto your computer. Modern sign design is like this, except the graphic designer needs to be able to edit and manipulate every element of the design. Customers who already have artwork (for example photos, logos, text) can send these files to the designer who can then use their skills and knowledge to adjust your artwork and design your sign or vehicle wrap.

 

Understanding Vector and Raster Artwork

Consider the size of a business card. Now think about the size of a billboard. There is a huge difference in size between those two products. The artwork (size) for the business card cannot possibly work for the billboard. That has everything to do with the format of the artwork in the file. Vector artwork (a term known very well by graphic designers) is the best to work within large-scale printing because it can be used for small-scale printing and large-scale printing. Vector artwork is created using special software programs. Vector art is made of points and lines; elements that scale to any size without losing clarity. Vector artwork is ideal and necessary for large-format printing. On the other hand, Raster artwork is made of tiny squares called pixels. Any image you look at on a screen (your phone, television or computer monitor) is a raster graphic. Raster graphics can absolutely work for large-format printing, but the image must be high resolution. Here’s a graphic to help understand vector vs. raster artwork:

 

Vector vs. Raster Graphics

Vector vs. Raster Graphics

Understanding Resolution

Raster artwork is made of tiny squares called pixels. Pixels are like puzzle pieces, that when arranged correctly and put together make a picture. You can see individual pixels if you zoom in as close as possible in an image. Resolution is the term used to explain how many pixels make up an image. Low resolution means that the image you’re looking at has fewer pixels per square inch. High resolution means that the image has more pixels per inch. It’s important to know, however, that you can’t simply convert a low-resolution image to a high-resolution image. Only high-resolution can be converted to low-resolution, not low to high. Low-resolution images are ideal for designing for a screen (like a website) or small-format printing (like business cards). High-resolution images mean a larger file, but they are necessary for large-format printing.

Vector vs. Raster

Image Zoomed in to show pixels

Interior Signs – Lory Student Center

When you need interior signs, there are a lot of things to consider. The type of signs, how many signs, where signs are needed, matching existing signs, using good colors, ADA compliant needs, easy to read and understand, and more reasons depending on the type of business. Colleges are a type of business where interior signs are used everywhere to direct and guide students (new and old) around huge buildings.

ADA Sign Installation

The new U.S. Army Reserve Readiness and Training Center is located in Windsor, Colorado just a few miles from Connecting Signs.  Last spring the construction was completed on the facility that will be used for a base for part-time soldiers’ once-a-month drills and two-week-long annual training.  The sign company that was hired to create the indoor and outdoor signs for the building is located in Pelham, Georgia.  Installing the signs was not an option for the Georgia sign company because of the distance.  When they called us to see if we would be interested in doing the install, we accepted because it gives us more installation experience for indoor and outdoor signs and gets our name out there – more exposure!

Even though we are just doing the installation part of the project, it is still a lot of coordination and work to get on board of a complex project like this one for the US Army.

Involvement and project management included coordination with the general contractor, the sign company that produced all the signs, and finally the end customer – Army core of engineers.   The interior signs for the building were mostly ADA.  Read about the Americans with Disability Act.  When ADA signs are used for the interior of a building, not only are they made according to the ADA standards but they must be installed following the standards.  To be compliant with installation, standards must be followed for the height and location of signs.

The following interior signs were installed:

  • 112 total indoor ADA sign panels
  • Room signs, restroom, directional, exit, room identification, LEED
  • Directory cabinet
  • Rail mounted dimensional letters

The following exterior signs were installed:

  • Two sets – dimensional letters
  • LEED

It is very important to make sure our employees are safe when installing signs inside or outside buildings and especially if we are doing work for a government agency like this one.  Our employees are trained and certified by Osha – 10 which is the Occupational Safety & Health Administration 10 hour Construction Industry Outreach Training Program.  It is intended to provide an entry level construction worker’s general awareness on recognizing and preventing hazards on a construction site.  Our team also attended safety meetings at the site which covered specific safety concerns; mainly common sense be used.

If you’re needing installation of signs, this is another service that Connecting Signs provides.  As you have read, it takes a lot of knowledge, good team work and communication because of the all the people and jobs involved.  Give us a call 970-493-0133 and let’s talk about this additional service we offer – installation.