bad sign

Signage – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


Sellotape, paper and a printer or pen.

Is this really the contents you would list when someone asks what is needed to make signage for a professional business? Of course not. Yet it’s clear that our standards drop significantly when it comes to temporary signage and I can bet its something we have all been guilty of in the past or present.

I have reviewed a significant number of car parks over the past few years, and in every report submitted, signage (particularly temporary) has been a major issue. Sure, the normal signage packages are usually poor with unclear messages in silly locations, but at least they are well built, permanent and give an air of professionalism, even if they are useless.

We have worked hard as an industry to change the perception of car parks, from dirty, dangerous places, to clean, safe and friendly environments. We spend millions making sure the fabric of the building is of the highest quality, hundreds of thousands on staff, training, lighting, security, parking equipment etc etc and then, even with all that investment, we still allow a hand written (or printed on Word if we are feeling posh) sign to be placed somewhere in the event of a temporary incident such as a machine failure.

I have seen some brilliant signs in my time, hand scrawled signs that are barely legible, sellotaped on a machine by a member of staff that was either drunk or thought it would be fun to regress to their childhood days.

I understand that this is a quick solution to a problem, but is it really that difficult to have some branded ‘Out of Order’ signs made that not only look professional to your customers, but help re-enforce your corporate identity?

On your next business or operational review, why not question how you approach these temporary issues, and ask what message you convey to your customers when doing so. Would it be acceptable for the Highways Agency to put hand written paper signs in the road when temporary roadworks are in place, or the Police to handwrite ‘Police Aware’ signs when they are dealing with an incident?

Why not use the opportunity to show that you do care about the small things, and lets work together as an industry to try and put Sellotape out of business!