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Ask An Expert: Library Signage Questions Answered

October 2020

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Q: What are the most common types of library signage?

A: There are two main types of library signs: architectural signage and flexible signage.

The primary type of library signage is architectural. Think of it as part of the building. It's the dimensional letters on the wall, an exterior monument sign, and interior wayfinding signage. This signage is for the fundamental parts of the library, and they aren't going to change frequently.

Flexible signage in a library are things like room identifiers and book stack signage. Sometimes these are simple signs that have printable inserts that can be updated with the name of a meeting room or someone’s name on an office door. Other flexible sign products offer interchangeable letter and number tiles to allow the library staff to update as needed. Section titles, that sit on top on shelves, are key flexible sign products for all ever-changing collections.

Q: What makes library signage effective?

A: There are 4 things you need to consider: Size. Font Height. Placement. Wayfinding.

Signage size and font height go hand in hand. You want signs to be big enough for all readers to see easily. Regardless of the sign type or material, if people can’t see the sign, it’s not going to do anyone any good.

Placement is a huge part of the puzzle. Where are people looking for information? Where do they get stuck and start turning around? We work with clients to help identify the best places to capture attention and direct people where they need to go.

When wayfinding works well, it feels seamless. Our signage experts are skilled at developing wayfinding plans to help people identify where they are, where they want to be, and how to get there easily.

Q: How can signage elevate the design of a library?

A: By creating signage that is on-brand, architecturally complimentary, and continues to exude a feeling or experience for the visitors.

Creating a signage package that fits both the brand of the library and the aesthetic of the library. We can make signage simple and sleek with vinyl lettering on translucent acrylic or warm with wood tones. We always try to incorporate materials from the building into an architectural signage package.

Children’s areas are one area where we can really unleash some creativity with a custom solution to create very unique experiences. In the Lake Villa District Library, we designed huge digital prints that looked like a cityscape to sit behind house-shaped bookcases. This dynamic design brought a lot of energy to the children’s area, making it an inviting space for children to learn. At Geneva Public Library District we unleashed a modern design using shapes to create interesting aspects. Lastly, at Lansing Public Library inspirational phrases and words are everywhere to help create great feelings throughout.

In a nutshell, the design boundaries are only limited by your imagination.

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Have questions? Have ideas? Need ideas?

Email Dan Salamone or find your sign expert.

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