As restrictions are easing, and workplaces, schools, government facilities, and even retail begin to reopen to some degree, we're all learning how best to adhere to governmental mandates and CDC guidelines so we can reopen. We all know it's not business as usual, but it is getting back to business. So, we're asking ourselves, how do we do that while making our spaces safe in this new reality?
As we cautiously step back into physical spaces, we're learning along with our clients and partners how to navigate our new reality. The truth is, a lot of people are shifting to work from home models, but the majority are doing this on a partial basis. Many are choosing to have both people in the physical spaces and people working/learning remotely. So for those who are in physical spaces, safety signage and wayfinding is a welcome means to learn how we are to interact with people and spaces moving forward.
We've implemented this not only in our locations, but also in many of our clients' various spaces. Along the way we've learned some best practices that we want to share with you to help you think about your plan.
1. Less is more. Bigger and bolder is better.
When you're creating your messaging and signage, you don't want to overwhelm people with a ton of text. Be clear, concise, and consistent. For instance, "Occupancy 4" is very to the point and easily understood versus, "To adhere to Ohio guidelines and regulations we are asking that this area be limited to people of less than 4."
Also, bigger, bolder graphics keep it simple and quick to understand. If your design is too complex and intricate, it can be hard to comprehend what you are being asked to do. It also helps to draw the person's eye to it so there's a reduced risk of someone not seeing the directive for that particular space.
2. Be friendly and on brand. Have fun with your messaging and embrace your brand's voice!
The most effective signs are customized to an organization's brand. Use your brand elements like graphic treatments, colors, and fonts so it works with your culture and your overall environment. Off-the-shelf solutions, quite frankly, are not the solution in this instance.
Also, guidelines and safety precautions are to be taken very seriously, but that doesn't mean you have to be cold and staunch with your messaging. Quite the opposite is true! You want to welcome people not scare them. You also want them to know it is your company's/brand's space they are visiting or working in. For instance, signage can and should say "Welcome back" or "Let's wash our hands" rather than things like "Wash your hands!".
No matter the messaging, you'll want to be friendly and not off-putting. This is real. It's serious, but don't lose your brand and your experience. It's possible to communicate safety guidelines in a friendly manner, while staying on brand.
3. Be approachable.
A lot of times when we think of safety signage, we think of yellow and black caution tape or red stop signs and more. Don't do that with your safety signage as you return to work. It can come across as aggressive and unapproachable. You're signage should remain on brand by utilizing your brand look and feel, including your colors. If your colors should happen to be a bright safety yellow or red, there are ways to subtly incorporate this so that your signage is still informative, but at the same time is very approachable. For instance, here's an example of floor signage that could easily have been in our main red brand color, but we choose to use one of our secondary brand colors to soften it, while communicating clearly that we have a physical distance standard.
4. Plan for now. Be prepared to change it later.
You'll want to keep your signage simple and economical in terms of both space and price. Plan for your graphics to be up for six to eight months, but keep in mind the messaging could change as we learn more about returning to work. Local governments and CDC guidelines are frequently updated. Before you invest in your signage, think about what could be needed as these guidelines and recommendations can change. That's why our the majority of our safety signage packages are economical and can be produced and installed quickly within 2 weeks. As things continue to evolve, we can help you be ready to rapidly adjust your safety communication strategy for your space.
Overall, safety signage can help us navigate our spaces as we return to work. Using creative illustrations and fun phrasing can make getting back to workplaces a little easier for people. Your signage should be uplifting and showcase your brand's personality while adhering to your local governmental and CDC guidelines. With beautiful design and a consideration for the user-experience, we can make our return a little less scary and a little more exciting as we continue to get back to schools, workplaces, retail and more.
We want to be there for you and help you as you get back to your physical space. Please click below if you'd like to speak to us about customizing a plan for your safety signage today.