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TW Magazine
July, 2007
Master "Sign Language"
to Communicate with your Customers

I was visiting a client for the first time, the Union Sanitary District, 40 miles from my office in the San Francisco Bay Area, in an industrial part of Union City, bounded by swampland and factories. But I was far from lost.

  • As I exited the freeway onto a major thoroughfare, a giant sign announced we were headed the right direction to this site.
  • Another sign signaled a turn onto a side street.
  • A third sign, a half-mile later, signaled I was to continue straight on the road I was traveling
  • Finally the last sign signaled I'd reached my destination.

Signage As Service

We know time is money. Now we realize signage is service too. Signs speak a language of their own. They tell us where we are, where to go and how to get there. They can comfort or confuse us, lead us or lose us. Yet signs do more than that.

Signs tell us what to buy, what options exist, what is on sale, where to pay and more. Signs are found on billboards, freeways, buildings, websites and many other places. Good signage scores points! Bad signage consigns you to irrelevance. Give your customers confidence through solid signage!

Walk The Line

Hospitals often use colored lines painted on the floor to lead patients and visitors from the information booth to various destinations: Radiology, Lab, Pharmacy, etc. They also use signs with arrows on the wall to direct people to various points.

Help Customers Avoid Becoming "Lost In Place"

Parking structures at movie theatres, airports and malls are evaluated for efficiency by their signage. Their challenge: to help you remember where you parked your car. They do it through use of colors, symbols, mnemonics and other techniques to help you navigate from and back to your car.

Where in the Recoleta is Eva Perón?

Ever gotten lost in a cemetery? Consider La Recoleta, a graveyard that is a city unto itself in Buenos Aries. Without a map, guide or key, how would one ever find relatives and loved ones, including Eva Duarte Perón? There's a sign at the entrance, but then you're on your own.

Aerial view of La Recoleta in Buenos Aires

Map of La Recoleta

Eva Duarte Perón's Mausoleum

ACTION: Answer the following questions for yourself:
  • What does your signage say about your business?
  • What messages do your signs convey to your customers?
  • How easily can they find themselves, your products, services and staff?
  • What signs are missing? Are there signs that could elucidate processes, instructions, locations, routes or other pertinent information?
  • Is your brand or logo reinforced by your signage?
Give your customers confidence to find what they're looking for, without effort, exertion and frustration. Don't make them think!On the subject of signage, enjoy these funny English translations of Chinese signs.

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