Signage in public places has a different role than other kinds of advertising. While the message and meaning of the advertisement should always be clear, unlike billboards and placement on congested or non-dominant locations, what is displayed on this kind of signage is often limited to simple information like the brand name, a telephone number, and an address. But the primary purpose is actually to engage and guide the public.


When considering how to approach new or refurbished signage in public places, there are several important factors to consider. One of the main considerations is size and location. Large illuminated signs are available for many businesses for both their advertising or identification purposes. However, many public areas do not allow such signs, and there are few guidelines about what may be allowed in such locations. Other considerations include price, maintenance and ongoing costs, additional features (including scrolling boards), and the use of all-weather conditions. Finally, the application is often restricted to a particular area at a given time, limiting the usefulness of signage in other settings.

This guide provides details on how to make signage more effective in public let’s start;


Purpose of the signage system

The purpose of any signage system is to communicate information, and in doing so, to help people do what they need to do. Before creating a sign, it may be useful to determine the aims and purposes for which you will use the sign. The target audience for the signage is people who are accessing the space you intend to create and using the services you intend to provide; once a target audience is established, examine further what kinds of information they need or want and how that information can best be conveyed via signs.

Survey existing conditions of signage

Survey existing signage conditions by glancing at the existing signs and taking a notecard. As you survey them, note primary elements on possible new signage, including height sizes, such as lettering and text typography, whether there are programmatic requirements or not, the size of the panel (LEDs are best), color considerations, graphics; and scan the sign for any problems that may require immediate action.

Understand who will be the users of signage

Take a walk along the paths and locations frequented by the different types of users every day – visitors (people who are not necessarily browsing), tourists (people who are curious about the space but do not necessarily stop), bicycle riders (unusual but frequent users of the room with their bikes), delivery personnel (people who work in the area delivering items), residents (disabled people who may use wheelchairs) workers (employees working at facilities in that area) families (may have young children or pets, i.e., Dogs with them). Identify and classify these different groups. ____ _____ Note: Keep track of how individuals move through spaces, how they interact with signage, what they read on gates etc.

Unique Features of Signage

The unique feature can take the form of anything distinct in some way. It demonstrates something that is not common but very important to the area’s history. For example, each night at sunset at Old Sturbridge Village, a living clock is projected onto the surface of the dry lake. The result is a moving image of an old-fashioned clock face as it strikes midnight. If you have never seen this before, you need to come to Old Sturbridge Village now!


MAP signage

MAP signage is one of the easiest ways to create interest and camaraderie in any space. A set of maps can help people explore the area instantly, whether the maps are located at an entryway or within the property itself, giving people an idea of what’s around them by showing where key destinations are located. Putting up a set of matching maps with wall-mounted signs that highlight key points of interest, such as restaurants and recreational areas, will add a welcome touch of class to any home or office.

Information boards

Information boards are generally flexible notice boards where messages can be updated at short notice. It is especially important when users use only a small space, these signs can inform the visitor of information they would not normally receive. Touch screens are becoming common for this task as they can be updated from external locations, away from the public space. Information Boards have often been used in public places such as airports to display information about flights, delays, and changes in travel conditions. By removing most of the visual elements and moving them to the external side of the board, some of the new information will be visible to those passing by or viewing from further away. This removes pressure on those who may need it and makes those poor souls who do not want to look a good fool. Sometimes you get all the info you want with a simple information board which is a bonus!

Educational signs

Educational signs bring a theme or concept to life for people worldwide.