Last edited 25 Feb 2021

Building signage

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[edit] Introduction

Building signage can be used to convey information in and around buildings by means of text or symbols. The use of signage in buildings can be classified as:

[edit] Safety signs

The installation of safety signage is mandated by the Health and safety at work act 1974. Safety signs must be provided and maintained in circumstances where a health and safety risk or hazards are identified.

Mandatory safety signs consist of:

  • Warning signs (warning of a hazard) – triangular signs with black pictogram and yellow background.
  • Prohibition signs (prohibits an action) – round shape with black or white pictogram and either red edgings or a diagonal line.
  • Mandatory action signs (prescribes specific behavior) – round shape with white pictogram and blue background.
  • Emergency signs (information for emergency situations) – rectangular or square shape with white pictogram and green background.
  • Fire safety signs (information for fire emergency) - combination of warning and emergency signs.

A detailed record of fire safety signage in accordance with the Building Regulations part B (Fire safety) must be kept in “as-built” documentation.

The Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations 2012 require at least one legible “No Smoking” sign is displayed in smoke-free premises. The signs should make clear that the premises are smoke-free.

Signage also needs to conform with the Equality Act 2010.

Further guidance for safety sign design and specification can be found in the British Standards:

[edit] Identification and wayfinding signs

Signage can be used externally to identify a building by its street number or name. Internally, signage can be used to identify rooms or areas by name, number or function.

Wayfinding signage can provide direction to a particular room or area and is important in large, complex buildings such as hospitals, educational facilities or transport terminals. In such cases, a uniform house style is considered desirable for consistency and clarity.

[edit] Branding and advertisement

Effective wayfinding can not only produce a safer environment, it can also create a positive impression. The location and design of identification and wayfinding and other signage forms a major part of an organisation’s corporate image and may be specified in some detail by in-house design guides.

Where such signage constitutes an advertisement, it may need advertisement consent. For more information see: Advertisement consent.

[edit] Instruction and prohibition signs

Signage in buildings may also instruct users to behave in certain way (‘please knock before entering’) or prohibit them from undertaking certain activities (‘no eating or drinking’). This may reflect an organisation’s internal policies, such as prohibiting the use of mobile phones in certain areas.

As with other signage, such notices should convey the necessary information or instruction as clearly and as simply as possible, and should be located where they are easily visible.

[edit] Materials and construction

Signs can be made from various materials, including:

Signs can be elaborate and require complex installation and fixing details depending on scale and size. They should be a key part of the design process, and not simply left to the end.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

[edit] External references


An absolutely amazing short, informative and all you need article..well done

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