1. Choosing the wrong colours
When choosing the font colour for your signs, consider the contrast against the background colour. If the colours are too similar with little contrast the text will not be easy to read and won’t comply with DDA guidelines. Your signage will also help to strengthen your brand if done well, so the design and colours used should be well thought through. It’s also worth considering the finish of the produced sign; gloss lamination should be avoided as this will cause reflection and make the signs illegible.
2. Poor copywriting
Writing signage copy is a skill in itself. Getting a clear message across using as few words as possible is not easy. Writing an essay for example requires a very different approach. With signs, less is more – the human brain can only interpret and remember on average 5 instructions at a time. It can be tempting to squeeze lots of information onto the sign, try to avoid this; more information does not mean better informed visitors, in fact the opposite will be true. It’s a good idea to test whether the message is understood with colleagues before investing in getting the signs produced and installed.
3. Using Stylish Typography
To comply with DDA guidelines, your signs must be legible for people with visual impairments. Stylish fonts can enhance graphic design and support the look and feel an organisation is aiming to achieve. However, when it comes to signage classic and simple style fonts are best, such as arial or Helvetica. Handwriting style fonts should be avoided as they are not easy to read. Sentence case should be used as this is a recognisable format rather than all in capitals.
4. Too big or too small
Size matters! When designing your signs, you’ll need to consider how far away your visitors will be from the sign so that you can ensure the lettering is large enough to be readable. As a general rule, external signs are likely to have larger lettering than internal signs. But it will all depend on the sign placement, the space around it and the purpose of the sign. For example if the sign is intended to be read from a car, such as an entrance sign, the lettering will need to be much larger than on a sign that you would read on foot.
5. Poorly lit signs
Not all signs need to be illuminated, but lighting can make signs much easier to read. The eye will naturally be drawn to brighter objects, so with well-designed lighting solutions your signs will be much more effective. And of course if you have outdoor signage you’ll need to consider how they will be seen in the dark winter months compared with brighter summer days.
6. Wrong placement
The first step in any signage project is planning. Even if you are simply replacing old signs for new, it is still worth considering whether the placement of the existing signage is correct. Physically walking around your site to carry out a survey of your signage will help to identify where signs are needed and the optimal place for them. We advise doing a site survey with someone who is not familiar with the premises, as they will highlight where additional information and guidance is needed for new visitors. All organisations have an obligation to comply with DDA guidelines, which state that internal signs should be placed between 1400mm and 1700mmm for visually impaired people who are standing and between 1000mm and 1100mm for wheelchair users.
7. Inconsistent signs
The design of your signs will support your overall brand image. So you want to make sure that the designs throughout the site are consistent to raise brand awareness with your visitors. Icons, colours and fonts should be consistent throughout so your visitors become familiar with the way you communicate information. For example, if you use a symbol to direct people to the toilets, then the same symbol should be used for all toilets in the building. If you have a numbering or colour coding system for your classrooms then this should be used for all classrooms.
For advice on how to get the most from your signage solutions get in touch with Model today.