Wayfinding signs and Directory signs – more than marketing!

Way Finding Architecture signs are finally being integrated into more the greater communications realm.

A few years back, but not that long ago, when SignForce did the way finding signage for Morningside Medi-Clinic, a large private hospital in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, we did our best to make sure that all the signs on the premises – from when people drove into the parking area until they reached their desired doctor or other destination – was all integrated and clear, especially as there was a lot of renovations and construction taking place at the time.

I had been working on the project for about five months when I was standing in one of the many foyers, and watched as a number of people evidently searching for something. Being the nosy person I am I asked if I could assist, and all, bar none, were lost – so much for my boards and ego. They had followed our carefully planned signs, yet were didn’t feel like they had been helped at all. The challenge we had failed was leading people through the labyrinth of passages and stairs, without making the hospital look like the proverbial Christmas tree.

Today, with the advent of YouTube and so many other digital aids, this can be made so much easier. I was reading an article on LinkedIn, for a group titled Architectural Signage, and the writer (and subsequent comments) were chatting about what is being done at the Royal Melbourne Hospital where patients are issued with a letter when they book their procedure, and the letter refers to a web based video that can be watched so the patient’s can see where they are going in advance, reducing their stress on arrival. A similar video is also made available to visitors on site at the hospital.

What a brilliant concept. While this will certainly not remove, or even reduce, the need for way finding signs and directory boards, because of it’s integrated nature it is certain to make finding one’s way around any facility a lot simpler. And from the perspective of a sign maker, this is the first time I have come across any idea where technology and way finding and directory signs are integrated. I believe if designed and implemented correctly, the integrated approach can make visitors lives much simpler, possibly for no other reason than what is referred to as using the mind as a magnet – that is being prompted in advance what to look for.

SignForce’s is a full service sign company, and with our understanding of consulting, internet, design and signs, we are well positioned to assist you to integrate your way finding architecture and signs. Contact the writer now for more information.

Arnold N. Pollak

arnold@signforce.co.za

For signage idea’s to suite your business, go to SignForce’s idea’s bank at:

http://www.signforce.co.za/action.php

http://www.signforce.co.za

http://www.signforce.co.za/blog

Wayfinding sign, wayfinding signs, directory sign, directory signs, modular sign systems,

Way Finding

 

Recent Posts

What makes a #sign expensive? Signs as an investment.

What makes a sign ‘expensive’?

Expensive is a VERY subjective word, so lets look at the input costs and how that could, would or should influence one’s purchasing decision.

#SignForce, as all sign suppliers, work in a very competitive market. There are generally many sign businesses in a relatively small area, especially as #signage is a low entry cost business. Because of the high level of competition, each sign business needs to have ‘something’ that makes our business ‘stand out’. For the person making the purchase, the high level of competition means one SHOULD be able to compare various options and get the best solution to fit your requirements, although COST, OUTLAY or INITIAL INVESTMENT is often the deciding factor, very often at the sacrifice of long term investment or long term LIFE of the sign.

Because COST or INITIAL OUTLAY is such a HUGE determining factor for many buyers, one of the easiest ways to stand out  is on ‘price’. It is easy for clients to choose the lowest cost supplier, as, generally, all suppliers will quote to supply the same LOOKING sign.

Often how this works is the potential client (or buyer) will send out a ‘tender’, which consists of a picture of how the sign should look. Sophisticated buyers will also supply detailed specifications – which they understand and can check – but this is less common than only supplying a picture and sizes. Also too often the person supplying the specifications does not gave a great understanding of what they are specifying so their ability to ensure that they receive what was quoted could be limited.

Because EVERYONE is quoting on the same OUTCOME (read that as picture), when the buyer gets their three or more competing quotes, they naturally assume they are comparing ‘APPLES’ with ‘APPLES’, but because #signs are not standard, off the shelf items, the design, makeup and materials can (and generally will) differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. As such, although all the signs may (initially) LOOK the same when installed, they could, in reality, be EXTREMELY different.

In order to explain I am going to use the example of a modular, internally illuminated light box sign with an acrylic face that is illuminated using energy efficient LED lights. I am using a modular frame as we can then assume that everyone that is quoting is using the same external frame, so all the quotes would have the same (or similar) input costs for the frame.

Now lets look at the make up of the sign, starting with ILLUMINATION. There are a number of LED’s that can be used on a light box sign. The difference can be anything from in how much light the LED emits (lumens) to the size of the individual LED units (or modules) to the angle of the light emitted from the LED module (especially if the module has a LENS), the expected life of the units and the COST. Because there are so many variables, for the purpose of this article I will compare cost that can vary from about R35 (US$ 13) per meter to about R500 (US$ 186) per meter. It would seem obvious there are a number of variables that affect the cost, but for #SignForce the important differences are (a) the LED’s are the correct LED’s for the job (meaning they will give equal and sufficient light), (b) the expected life of the LED and (c) the LED’s are sure to do the job (preferably guaranteed) so that the business will not have any unnecessary call backs which can be substantially more costly than the cost of the LED’s.

Other factors that can have a GREAT  impact on the cost include, but are not limited to, (a) the size of the sign (this has way too many variables to reference in this article), (b) the cost of the decoration (print versus cut vinyl versus ink versus paint) (we will only refer to PRINT where costs have a range difference that can easily exceed 500%, with the quality and life span of the print varying greatly), (c) the thickness of the acrylic face (this is influenced by the size of the sign and possibly the location of the sign, and will in turn influence the cost of both the acrylic (the thicker the higher the cost) and the beading that holds (supports) the acrylic face). (d) If the frame is to be painted the make up and application method of the paint can also have a great impact on costs, both due to the large difference in cost of the base paint as well the time and process differences between the various application methods which range from ‘dipping’ to using a paint brush to spray painting and powder coating.

At #SignForce we take our guarantee VERY SERIOUSLY, and as such we use materials which, while generally more costly, will have a higher likelihood of lasting and not creating negative comebacks from clients. This does tend to make the initial outlay slightly higher, (historically this is generally no more than 20%), but #SignForce’s logic is that having to redo a sign after three to five years could be substantially more costly than having a sign that does it’s job well for it’s intended life, which is generally seven years, even if the decoration needs to be replaced more regurarly.

For more information on why SignForce views #signs as an investment or on purchasing  quality signs that will consistently keep you in your prospective clients eyes for many years to come, please contact #SignForce at info@signforce.co.za

  1. Is my low tech #Sign job in jeopardy? Comments Off on Is my low tech #Sign job in jeopardy?
  2. How BIG must my sign be? Comments Off on How BIG must my sign be?
  3. #Signs and the Coefficient of Change Comments Off on #Signs and the Coefficient of Change
  4. Does your sign convey your desired message? Comments Off on Does your sign convey your desired message?
  5. How do I know what sign would work best for my business? Comments Off on How do I know what sign would work best for my business?
  6. How SHOULD signs be cleaned? Comments Off on How SHOULD signs be cleaned?
  7. The Signs of Pride Comments Off on The Signs of Pride
  8. What defines GOOD QUALITY signs? Comments Off on What defines GOOD QUALITY signs?
  9. Business Signs that are Too Good To Be True Comments Off on Business Signs that are Too Good To Be True