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Effective Library Signage: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices

Effective Library Signage: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices

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Effective Library Signage: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices

  1. 1. Effective Library Signage: Tips, Tricks, & Best Practices Workshop Thursday January 5, 2017 Mark Aaron Polger Assistant Professor & First Year Experience Librarian College of Staten Island, CUNY Amy F. Stempler Associate Professor & Coordinator of Library Instruction College of Staten Island, CUNY
  2. 2. Webinar Outline ● Introduction and background ● Why is signage important? ● Why perform a signage audit? ● Types of signs ● Categories of signs ● Audit Results ● Phase 1 of Assessment ● Phase 2 of Assessment ● Replacement strategy ● Before & After Examples ● Do’s and Don’ts ● Maintaining Effectiveness ● Adopting New Signage Values ● Conclusion
  3. 3. The College of Staten Island (CSI) Library College of Staten Island is one of the 24 colleges of the City University of New York (CUNY). We are a comprehensive college and one of the seven senior colleges within the system. ● 14,000 students ● 204 acre campus ● New student residences ● 30,000 square foot library ● 14 full time librarians, 10 adjuncts ● 65 staff in total ● We offer a popular, one-credit course
  4. 4. Discussion What are some of your signage problems? What do you hope we address today?
  5. 5. Why is Library Signage Important? Signage is targeted communication with your patrons that: ● promotes Library events, programs, and courses ● outlines Library policies ● provides directions to Library materials and facilities
  6. 6. Why Perform a Signage Audit? Performing a signage audit allows you to quantify and better understand your current signage, as well as to help identify issues that may be leading to less effective signage, such as: ● Too many signs ● Poorly placed signs ● Unclear/mixed messages ● Punitive or passive aggressive tone ● Inconsistent design ● Too much text
  7. 7. Types of Signs 1.Promotional/informational 1.Policy 1.Directional
  8. 8. Categories of Signs 1.In-house (DIY) 2.Permanent (institutional) 3.Temporary (i.e. out of order signs)
  9. 9. Discussion Have you ever conducted a signage audit? If yes, what problems did you discover? What did you learn?
  10. 10. Audit Results = Mass Removal As a result of our audit, we removed: ● outdated and punitive signage ● signage that was text heavy ● handwritten signs
  11. 11. Phase 1 of Assessment Approximately 60 library employees participated Faculty and staff identified preferred font face, font size, and language preference Buy-in was challenging
  12. 12. Phase 2 of Assessment Signage preference questionnaire (N=325) Students received 6 signs with identical messages in both old and new designs Students were asked to select their preferred signs Solicited open ended comments
  13. 13. Cell Phone Policy Signs
  14. 14. Calculator Signs
  15. 15. Textbook Signs
  16. 16. Noise Policy Signs
  17. 17. Replacement Strategy Created design templates Tracked sign location Replaced with half the number of signs
  18. 18. Design Guidelines 1. Consistency 2. Font type 3. Font color 3. Sign orientation 4. Branding 5. Language/Controlled vocabulary 6. Tone (is it punitive?) 7. Visuals (photos) 8. Placement 9. ADA compliance
  19. 19. Avoid… ALL CAPS Clutter Signs with no images Walls and Furniture Visible Tape Handwritten signs Fancy fonts (not legible) Passive Aggressive Tone Confusing/Contradictory Signs Glare (ADA compliance)
  20. 20. Avoid All caps…
  21. 21. Avoid Clutter
  22. 22. Avoid Clipart
  23. 23. For example
  24. 24. Avoid Handwritten Signs Handwritten signs are: Unprofessional Unwelcoming Often illegible and are not considered official
  25. 25. Avoid Mounting on Walls, Doors, & Furniture (use frames, bulletin boards or easels)
  26. 26. Avoid Glare and Use Contrast
  27. 27. Avoid Contradictory Messages
  28. 28. Avoid Passive Aggressive/ Punitive Signs Threatening message? Construction zone? All caps = yellingRed stop sign?
  29. 29. Create Templates & A Signage Policy
  30. 30. Embrace Simplicity
  31. 31. Another example Our “Code of Conduct” used to resemble the U.S. Constitution, so we created a simpler R.E.S.P.E.C.T. awareness campaign
  32. 32. Use images Before After
  33. 33. Strive for Inclusivity
  34. 34. Signage Should be Large Scale
  35. 35. Create a User Friendly Experience (trying to avoid “no”)
  36. 36. Discover Bump Points
  37. 37. Create a Signage Locator Map
  38. 38. Keep Track of Your Signs fake real
  39. 39. Mounting Tips Avoid Visible Tape Use double sided tape. If unavailable, create temporary double sided tape by looping regular tape together Avoid crooked signs Mount signs in a straight and centered manner
  40. 40. Mounting Tips Part 2 Mount at eye level Be mindful of sightlines Make use of holders, frames and bulletin boards Avoid mounting on furniture
  41. 41. Getting Buy-In Be patient, this takes time Listen Compromise In-Person Meetings Designate a Signage Contact/Team Data supports decisions Partner with other campus groups
  42. 42. Maintaining Effectiveness Policy signs are ineffective if not enforced Understand your audience Ask questions & use focus groups Consistency (design, brand, fonts) Always revise and improve Continuously evaluate signs Partner with campus groups
  43. 43. Maintaining Effectiveness Weekly signage stroll Signage is effective when current Ongoing assessment Try different sizes Revisit signage policy Tweak templates Assess your bump points
  44. 44. Discussion What are some of your challenges and obstacles at your institutions? Do you have trouble getting buy-in?
  45. 45. Our Challenges Enforcing policies Lack of buy-in / support Signs often go unread Vandalism Culture shift might be slow
  46. 46. Lessons Learned Avoid jargon Develop a clear message Use few words Incorporate realistic images (avoid clipart) Avoid “no” Avoid all caps Signs are living documents--be flexible and embrace change Signs should be continuously evaluated Placement is key
  47. 47. Recommendations Revisit your signs continuously Be Consistent Be friendly Create a signage policy Create signage templates Create a library brand Get buy-in from your department Don’t forget about ADA compliance
  48. 48. Thank you! Mark Aaron Polger, Assistant Professor & First Year Experience Librarian MarkAaron.Polger@csi.cuny.edu Amy F. Stempler, Associate Professor & Coordinator of Library Instruction Amy.Stempler@csi.cuny.edu Stempler, A. F., & Polger, M.A. (2013). Do You See the Signs? Evaluating Language, Branding, and Design in a Library Signage Audit. Public Services Quarterly, 9(2), 121-135. Polger, M.A., & Stempler, A.F. (2014). Out with the Old, In with the New: Best Practices for Replacing Library Signage. Public Services Quarterly, 10(2), 67-95.
  49. 49. Questions?

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