School’s (almost) out: Why the summer holidays are the best time for signage maintenance
The days are getting longer and warmer and there’s a definite buzz of summer not being too far away.
For educational institutions such as schools, colleges, sixth forms and universities, the summer break provides the perfect opportunity to provide maintenance teams with the chance to complete upkeep tasks without interrupting teaching and learning.
And before it begins, now is the time to plan how to make the most of those 6-weeks off and get the right maintenance done for your facility.
Here are some things to think about when it comes to upgrading your educational signage:
- Safety signage
Summer holidays are an ideal time to carry out a safety sign audit. The building, grounds and car parks will be easier to access during this time, providing the ideal opportunity to audit your school signage.
It’s a perfect time to make sure your signs are all present, in good condition and conform to the latest legislation. Take the time to walk around your premises, including playgrounds, games areas, playing fields, and car and bike parks. Try to look at it with fresh eyes or consider taking someone less familiar with the layout with you to see if the wayfinding signage is doing its job – i.e. can you easily find your way around following the signage alone?
It’s also a great chance to check your existing fire and safety signs. Do you have all the necessary signs covered by legislation? While it isn’t yet a requirement to change all your existing safety signs to the new ISO 7010 versions, we advise not mixing signage from different legislative standards. Best practice recommends updating to the most recent standard if changes or additions are needed.
- A new brand identity
In much of the UK, educational institutions are changing. Many schools are moving from first and middle schools to ‘through’ primaries or becoming Academies. You will no doubt have considered how the new school will present itself so use signage to bring the new brand to life and communicate new identity messages.
A great example of how we’ve helped do this is our work with Oldham Sixth Form College. Formed in 1992, the branding was in need of a refresh and with that, we recently created internal and external signage for the campus. View more about this project, including striking drone video footage here.
- Showcase your team
Did you know we’ve been creating StaffBoards also known as ‘meet the team’ boards for 15 years? Many organisations across education and healthcare come to us to put friendly faces to names in reception areas. Not only does this provide your guests with a warm welcome, but it also helps with essential safeguarding measures.
- Information and wayfinding signage
As you welcome a new set of students at the start of the new academic year, you’ll understand how to some it can be an anxious time as they meet new people and navigate a new building. Ensuring you have simple and effective wayfinding signage will help new students orientate themselves quickly.
- Accessible and inclusive signage
It’s important to show you’re invested in being an accessible and inclusive institution and cater for everyone’s requirements in order to ensure you’re DDA compliant, but also to convey a welcome to all.
To do this, consider raised writing and using braille and tactile signage for those with impaired vision, who rely on touch over sight.
It’s also a good idea to ensure your signage can be read by anyone with visual impairments by contrasting the colour of the background sign with the colour of the writing, for example, if your background signage colour is yellow, a similar light colour writing such as white will be difficult to read and should be contrasted with a dark colour such as black. Consider the font too – keep it as simple as you can in line with your brand guidelines and ensure the colour of the wall on which the signage will be displayed contrasts correctly too.
Get the right measurements too. Ensure your educational signage is placed at the correct reading height for students who may be younger/smaller and in wheelchairs.
- Signage maintenance
What condition are your signs in? Over time, signs can become dirty or damaged due to things such as the weather and vandalism. Make sure all signs are safe, clean, clear and can be easily read so that they fulfil their purpose and reflect your organisation at its best.
As well as manufacturing brand-new signage from a variety of materials, including sustainable resources, we also offer a maintenance package to help clean up and repair signage which still has life left in it. Where signs are illegible and beyond cleaning they should be replaced.
If you’d like to discuss the requirements for your school, college, sixth form or university signage, get in touch here.