Signage is an important part of the school landscape. Signs generally fall under the categories of information, wayfinding and education. This means students, staff and visitors will usually be interacting with signs that deliver safety advice, give directions and aid learning.
Each new school year exposes signage to hundreds of students, and over time, messages can be lost. As signage fades, so does the impact it has. Whether it’s because details change or the signs suffer damage, it’s important to keep school signage up-to-date and in good condition.
Refresh Old Signs For A Greater Impact
Information for students, staff and visitors is covered by a wide range of different signs. Signs that depict the ethos and values of the school, health and safety, how long visitors can stay in the car park and opening times for amenities are all examples.
During the pandemic, schools put temporary signs up regarding social distancing, face masks and other covid safety guidelines. These signs are probably worn down and not as relevant anymore, so can be removed. If they are still needed but have lost the impact they once held, replacing them with new signs that attract the attention of people passing.
One way this can be improved, is by combining all the different temporary signs about masks, washing hands, keeping distances etc. into one cohesive sign that acts as a reminder. It can now also a higher quality sign, with the school’s branding included.
Improve Inclusivity and Accessibility
Not all signs are just visual. Accessible signs make a big difference to those who use them. Signs that speak recorded messages, such as directions, give visually impaired students more autonomy. Signs with braille included, help hearing impaired students navigate with more confidence. Giving students more independence through aids, also demonstrates principles of inclusivity to all students.
It is important that signs related to inclusivity do not look like an ‘after-thought’. Non-gender specific toilets or universal changing rooms should be signposted just as thoroughly as gendered areas. This could involve changing the icon or symbols from temporary signs, to ones that match the style across the rest of the school.
High quality and visible signage promoting inclusivity and accessibility also act as a demonstration of a school’s acceptance of all people. This is reassuring for prospective students and their guardians.
Use Graphic Signs As Decoration
Graphic signs can be featured across walls, floors, and doors. They are a flexible type of signage that can be anything from large visual cues for learning in corridors, to small decorations brightening up the canteen or changing rooms. Giving areas of the school a revamp with graphics is an opportunity to celebrate achievements, spread positivity or highlight key messages.
When was the last time you checked the wayfinding signage at your school? Have classroom names changed or new buildings been added? Although most students and staff spend so much time at a school, you’d expect them to know their way around after a few weeks, this isn’t always true. Each new year students might encounter an area of the school they have not used before. If you have classrooms or facilities for a certain year group, then those places won’t be familiar to everyone.
A good wayfinding strategy includes always updating signs when changes are made to the navigation. This can easily be done with signs that can be switched around such as the xsign jigsaw system.
The benefits of keeping navigational signage up to date goes past helping new students find their way. Some neurodiverse conditions such as ADHD and Dyslexia impact navigation for people, even if they are familiar with an area.
Up to date directional signage helps visitors around the school as well. Although it’s unusual for visitors to not be accompanied, Ofsted inspectors will note if signage is causing students to be late for classes.
Ways you can improve signage in a secondary school:
- Refresh or replace old signs.
- Introduce inclusive and accessible signs.
- Use graphic signs for decoration.
- Review and improve wayfinding.
xsign have extensive experience designing signage in schools and universities both nationally and internationally. Talk to us about what your school needs to improve signage.