Planning for Higher Education Journal

Improving Campus Signs

Journal Cover
From Volume 21 Number 2 | Winter 1992–1993
By Robert Brown

Campus signage has seldom been a design prioirity at colleges and universities, yet prospective students, guest faculty, speakers, adult education class attendees, and others must find their way around an unfamiliar campus. In recent years, a new kind of graphic designer has come into being. These are enviromental graphic designers; they are fimiliar with signage needs and provide a comprehensive process, from environmental analysis to construction details. Campus signage is not only about directional information, but also aesthetics and image. There are many varied and heated opinions about signage, so it is best to assemble the smallest possible decision-making group to work with the designer. This group, however, must remain in contact with the many other interested parties. Good sign design has the following elements: (1) "the sign format," (2) "fabrication materials," (3) "type style," (4) "the graphic layout," (5) "colors of the sign," and (6) "location of the signs." Another issue to consider is the effect of the Americans with Disablities Act. While this has few implications for exterior signage, it has very specific requirements for interior signage, such as Braille, letter size, and contrast. If an institution makes signage a priority, clear integrated campus signs can be as important as landscaping and quality architecture to a newcomer. More than anything, good signage is a mark of courtesy to all who use the campus.

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