Another option is an indirectly lit sign, which can still make a strong impact if it's clear and readable. In this application, direct as much light onto your sign as possible, but keep the content simple. Facility name, phone number and Web address are all you need. To ensure your text is readable, consult the guidelines in the last paragraph of this article.
When it comes to the signage inside the facility perimeter, think stupid. Seriously. You already know your way around the property, which could be a disadvantage when designing your navigational aids. Try to forget what you know and put yourself in the shoes of a brand-new customer.
Can you find your unit easily and efficiently? Can you find your way to the exit? Who would you call if your access code didn’t work? What if there's a random car blocking access to your unit? What if you saw something suspicious or criminal? Are there signs that tell you what to do in these situations? There should be!
Being able to see your facility from a consumer’s perspective is the key to properly creating or redesigning your signage plan. Your best advice may come from someone who doesn’t know your facility, so if you have someone willing to help, use him.
Depending on your facility’s size, you may need hundreds of small signs, including those that include a property map. Map signs with X-marks-the-spot, "You are here" indicators are widely appreciated. Plan your facility logically, and identify this logic to guide your consumers to their units easily and quickly.
Think about all the places customers will be when they visit the property and put the signs they might need in those locations. Consider the experience of getting off an elevator in a hotel. The doors open and there’s a sign directly in front of you indicating that rooms 300-350 are to the right, while rooms 350-400 are on the left. Use this clarity as a model.
Regardless of their content, all of your signs should be clean, crisp and clear. Here are some other key pointers:
- Keep colors to a minimum, but use juxtaposition so the content stands out.
- Use big, bold fonts that are easy to read.
- Avoid cursive or italics, which may make reading difficult.
- Use all capital letters when possible because they’re much easier to read than lowercase.
- Most people are able to read a 1-inch capital letter at 50 feet. To be read at 100 feet, a letter or character must be a minimum of 2 inches tall. However, always go larger than these minimums when possible, as there are an increasing number of consumers who can’t see as well as they used to.
Your facility’s signage is an important marketing and customer-service tool. When considering signage design, think about your marketing goals and the messages you wish to convey to tenants. Create memorable and informative signs that will attract new business and provide accurate directions and instructions for existing customers.
Matt Jordan is the director of sales at I.C.E. Signs, a global provider of LED advertising technologies. Based in Kingston, N.H., the company supplies electronic message centers in a variety of sizes. To reach him, call 603.347.3005, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.icesigns.com.