The Importance of Signage
Signage is an important part of any project. External signage provides an opportunity for a company to provide both wayfinding and branding/advertising. Attractive and well positioned internal signs make it easier for employees and visitors to navigate the building and locate specific rooms such as conference rooms, restrooms, kitchens and specific employee offices and cubicles. In the healthcare and bio/pharmaceutical sector, signage specifying PPE requirements, space use protocols and any hazardous or harmful materials present must be displayed outside the room for anyone entering the space.
Signs tie directly to a company’s brand and typically are a physical representation of the company logo. Company’s brand managers standardize the way that logos can be used in electronic, paper and physical building signage.
Exterior facing signs can be used as advertising for a company’s brand/products when buildings are in a busy, highly traveled area.
Exterior sign sizes, colors, illumination and materials are governed by the city or town where the building exists. Companies can file for a variance from the town/city and attend a hearing to gain approval to go outside of these guidelines.
Interior signage that faces the exterior of the building is often used as a workaround to town/city regulations. Signs are required to be 10feet from the exterior façade of the building.
Signage is required by code to be installed prior to final inspection/sign off for Certificate of Occupancy.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has specific requirements for directional and identification signage — including signs for office doors and cubicles, room numbering and naming. “These
must be manufactured in contrasting letters and background colors on a glare-free surface. The roo
m number and/or room name must be fashioned in both raised tactile lettering and Braille. Door sign letters must be large enough to be read from a distance.
All ADA compliant signs must be positioned to provide access to people in wheelchairs. Room name/numbers and office doorway signage must be positioned between 48” and 60” above the floor level to ensure visibility and provide wheelchair access. Due to this requirement, the standard mounting height for signage is typically 54” from floor to the center of the sign.
The bottom of overhead signage must be 80” above the floor. Projecting wall mounted signs must be a minimum of 27” from the floor and have a maximum protrusion of 4” into a pathway.
Building addresses, parking signs, directories and temporary signs do not need to be ADA compliant.
Each set of Construction Drawings includes a room numbering sequence for easy reference during the design and construction process. If possible, it is easiest to utilize the same numbering sequence on room signs for the space.
Interior branding is a great way for companies to bring brand recognition into the physical appearance of the space. This can include representations of the literal brand logo or some other items that are familiar interpretations of the products or services that are provided.
It is a best practice to put some sort of marking on any floor to ceiling glass for safety reasons. This can be something as simple as a distraction band or dots to the utilization of logos or other company attributes.
In any biotech, healthcare, pharmaceutical company or the like, signage is required to publish what materials, equipment, regulations and PPE is required to enter the room.
Developing a lab sign standard utilizing interchangeable magnetic pieces helps to avoid needing to purchase new signs if the use of the space changes in the future.
Similarly, using adhesive numbers on the standard NFPA diamond provides flexibility for future changes.
For GMP facilities, signage must be made of a non-porous material that can withstand regular cleaning required for these spaces. It also must be mounted and sealed with specific materials allowed in these rooms.
Signage that is not custom typically has a 4 to 6-week lead time from the receipt of the purchase order.
There are several sign companies locally and nationally that can assist with your various needs. It is important to get an understanding of the specialty areas that each provide in order to align their capabilities with your specific needs.