Ray gets a harsh lesson on sign design. Carol wonders if she’ll take a pay cut. Ray comes up with a job-saving creative idea for a sign, and returns to his boss’s good graces as the coveted “Star Employee”. Watch now.
Ray gets a harsh lesson on sign design. Carol wonders if she’ll take a pay cut. Ray comes up with a job-saving creative idea for a sign, and returns to his boss’s good graces as the coveted “Star Employee”. Watch now.
Things to consider when adopting iBeacon technology. There are amazing opportunities to boost sales, but there are as many dangers. This video takes you through several scenarios to get you thinking.
You’re walking down a sidewalk – which is more likely to catch your eye – a sidewalk sign with hand drawn art or a printed “Come on in, we’re open” sign? If you’re like most, the hand drawn art will get you every time. It makes the business feel more human, like the people inside really care and take pride in their store – whether it’s clothing or coffee. This video can show you how to create hand drawn art for your sidewalk signs, even if you aren’t an artist.
The importance of safety signs cannot be overstated. It’s impossible to know how many lives workplace safety signs save per year, but people take notice when there isn’t a sign posted where one ought to be. Thanks to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers as well as the public at-large have come to expect the ever-present safety signs posted around industrial job sites. Through OSHA compliance, the resulting uniformity makes safety signs easy to understand, which is what makes them effective.
After President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law in 1971, OSHA was established as an agency in the U.S. Department of Labor. The agency is charged with enforcing workplace safety laws. OSHA also has regulatory powers, and they have created guidelines for a number of workplace safety processes and procedures.
There are OSHA regulations pertaining specifically to the design of OSHA safety signs. The regulations describe types of safety signs, and they also point to a set of design standards created by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in the late 1960s. The ANSI standards have actually been updated since then, but as with the nature of governmental bureaucracy, they have not gone through the necessary approval process within OSHA to become official yet. Still, OSHA will make exceptions during their inspections if signs are up to the new ANSI standards, and still offer at least as much warning as they would under the official ANSI standards from the late 1960s that are recognized by OSHA.
What set of regulations would be complete without a definition of a basic word for which everyone takes for granted? In this case, the word is “sign”. OSHA defines a sign as a surface that contains warnings or instructions about nearby hazards for workers and the public at-large. OSHA specifically points out that news releases, safety posters and bulletins are not included in the definition of safety sign. In other words, having a safety poster won’t help a business become OSHA compliant. Where there are hazards, there needs to be safety signs warning of those hazards.
According to OSHA regulations, there are basically three different types of workplace safety signs. They are danger signs, caution signs and informational signs. To be OSHA compliant, a safety sign needs to conform to a specific set of colors which are dictated by on the type of sign being displayed. To simply describe the basic layout of a safety sign, it should be rectangular, consisting of a background, a colored panel at the top containing a signal word, and then an area for a message below it.
Danger signs should be used to signify an imminent threat such as radiation present in an area. The OSHA regulations say there may be no variations made to their symbols and messaging as directed by the standards. A danger sign needs to specify that there is an immediate danger, and employees need to be trained to recognize that threat and act appropriately.
Danger signs need to be red, black and white as described in both the ANSI and OSHA standards.The sign background should be white and the panel at the top of the sign should be black.In the black panel, the word “Danger” should be white letters in a red circle. Any letters that appear on the white background should be black. Following these guidelines will make a danger sign OSHA compliant.
Warning signs should be used to warn against a potential hazard that could cause injury or death such as “Hot Surface”. The OSHA regulations say there may be no variations made to their symbols and messaging as directed by the standards. A warning sign needs to specify that there is a potential danger, and employees need to be trained to recognize that dangerous condition and act appropriately.
Warning signs need to have an orange background with black lettering as described in both the ANSI and OSHA standards. The panel at the top of the sign should be the black warning symbol. In the black panel, the word “Warning” should be black letters in a horizontal rectangle. Any letters that appear on the orange background should be black. Following these guidelines will make a danger sign OSHA compliant.
Caution signs are used to warn of potentially hazardous situation or to caution against unsafe practices or inappropriate actions that could cause injury or death. One example may be a sign that says “Hard Hat Area” or “Watch for Forklifts”. According to the OSHA rules about safety signs, employees need to be trained that these signs indicate that they need to take proper precautions while in that area to ensure safety and prevent accidents.
The ANSI standards for caution signs say they need to have a yellow background. Like danger signs, caution signs should also have a black panel up top. However, caution panels should have yellow letters for the word “caution” to comply with OSHA standards. Any letters appearing in the message below the panel will be on the yellow background and should be black.
Informational signs follow a similar uniformity as danger and caution signs, except info sign colors are white backgrounds with a green panel and white letters within the panel. Below the panel, the lettering on the white background of informational signs should be black to comply with ANSI standards.
When it comes to lettering for safety signs, the information in the OSHA standards gives readability guidelines for letters ranging from 3.5 inches to a quarter-inch tall. Letters 3.5 inches tall are visible up to 200 to 210 feet away. One-inch letters can be read 60 to 65 feet away, and quarter-inch letters are visible from 15 to 20 feet.
The OSHA standards for safety signs have yet to be updated. They cite standards created by ANSI from 1967 and 1968 currently; however there are new ANSI standards since 2011 governing signs. As long as protection offered by signs is equal to or greater than 2011 standards, then you should be covered when they’re formally accepted. Still, the new ANSI standards have not been formally adopted, and enforcement will still be based on the old ANSI standards.
The old standards for safety signs were found under ANSI Z35.1-1968 and ANSI Z53.1-1967. These sets of standards covered sign specifications and colors respectively. Today, ANSI has a number of standards to govern safety signs. The new standards are labeled as the ANSI Z535 standards. However, as mentioned above, the new standards have yet to officially become part of OSHA regulations.
Ultimately, the most important thing about safety signs is that they work. Safety signs must be uniform in design and easy-to-read while maintaining a concise message. OSHA standards say safety signs need enough necessary info to be understood. People should know at a glance what they should and shouldn’t do in an area. It’s easy to accomplish this if employers and sign makers maintain OSHA compliance on safety signs.
U.S. Department of Labor. (N.D.). “Specifications for accident prevention signs and tags.” OSHA. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=standards&p_id=9794
U.S. Department of Labor. (22 February 2011). “Standard Interpretations” OSHA. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=27641
United States of America Standards Institute. (1968). “Specifications for Accident Prevention Signs.” Z53.1-1968. Retrieved from https://law.resource.org/pub/us/cfr/ibr/002/ansi.z35.1.1968.pdf.
Another accident occurs at the Sign Shoppe when cutting substrate for a client. The boss promises Ray he’ll find a better way. He calls a trusted source for Sign Shops, and learns about a Fletcher substrate cutter – faster, more accurate, and much safer. Watch the episode now!
We’ve all heard “safety first.” It’s drummed in our heads from an early age, on the playground, in the classroom, then later on the job and even as we drive on the highways. However, the idea that safety is first doesn’t sit well with Mike Rowe, the former host of the Discovery Channel series “Dirty Jobs.” When the term “safety first” is uttered, it’s usually in relation to being compliant with some sort of standard.
On Mike’s blog titled “Profoundly Disconnected,” Rowe says, “…the whole ‘Safety First’ mentality might be having a counter-intuitive effect. Moreover, it struck me that on-the-job safety, for all it’s critical importance, is never really ‘first.'” Ultimately, Rowe is saying that being in OSHA compliance is a good thing, but just because a company or a worker is complying with safety standards doesn’t mean that danger is no longer present.
OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an agency under the United States Department of Labor. It was created when President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health act into law in late 1970. The law gives the agency powers to create safety regulations in the workplace, and to enforce those regulations. “Compliance safety and health officers” perform the enforcement. They are tasked with conducting workplace inspections of hazardous job sites and issue fines when safety violations are discovered.
According to Rowe, safety rules such as those concocted by OSHA are third most important to a business, i.e. safety is third, rather than first. What comes before safety for Rowe? In his blog, he says getting the job done and making money are both more important than safety – to the business, that is. Rowe says if a business says otherwise, it’s disingenuous. However, Rowe says he’s not denigrating the importance of safety measures and OSHA compliance; rather he’s suggesting that the best person in charge of personal safety is that individual.
Safety signs are a key element in OSHA standards; what better way to make sure a worker is aware of hazards than by posting a sign making that worker is aware of the threat? For workers to take charge of personal safety, signs need directives rather than platitudes. Think about a stop sign. It doesn’t try to make drivers feel good to stop at intersections; it tells them to stop.
Speaking of stop signs, “Mental Floss” (2014) wrote that the stop sign has eight sides due to the level of danger present. In 1923 in Mississippi, the state’s highway department came up with the idea of using the number of sides on a sign to denote the level of risk on the road. The more sides a sign has, the more risk there is present on the road.
The Mississippi Highway Department decided that informational signs should be rectangular. A diamond-shaped sign, likewise with four sides, would also denote the less dangerous threats. Next were stop signs, with eight sides, and beyond that was the railroad crossing sign – a circle, with infinite sides, denotes a high level of danger.
As a result, people know what these signs mean. Road signs are great examples of safety signs. The consequences of running a stop sign are obvious. However, in the workplace, a sign explaining the virtues of safety will fail to carry the same weight in message. In a perfect world, employers will comply with OSHA sign standards on the job site, and the signs will offer clear and concise directives. This will influence the employees to do as Mike Rowe suggests and take responsibility for their personal safety.
(7 August 2014). “Why Do Stop Signs Have Eight Sides?” Mental Floss. Retrieved from http://mentalfloss.com/article/56877/why-do-stop-signs-have-eight-sides. Retrieved on 12 September 2014
Rowe, M. (1 March 2009). “The Only One Responsible for My Own Safety is Me.” Profoundly Disconnected. MRW. Retrieved from http://profoundlydisconnected.com/the-only-one-responsible-for-my-own-safety-is-me/. Retrieved on 12 September 2014.
(11 August 2014). “Off The Wall: Safety Third Conversation Continues.” Profoundly Disconnected. MRW. Retrieved from http://profoundlydisconnected.com/off-the-wall-safety-third-conversation-continues/. Retrieved on 12 September 2014.
Paintings have a canvas. Signs have a substrate. Top-notch sign shops need to be able to safely and efficiently cut through the substrate to cut their signs down to size. To make professional-looking signs, the substrate needs to be cut straight with perfect 90-degree angles. A substrate cutter is the right tool for this job. Substrate cutters also improve efficiency for sign shops by cutting time and saving material lost to bad cuts. Before examining the substrate cutter, take a look at this brief definition of substrates.
A substrate, in terms of printing and sign making, is the base on which graphics are printed. For signs, substrate materials might consist of corrugated plastic, foam board, aluminum sheets and aluminum composites. In general, the thickness of these substrates is limited by the ability of available tools to cut through them.
When it comes to thicknesses, the Fletcher Substrate Cutter can handle aluminum sheeting up to .063″ in thickness with the correct cutting head attached. For this particular substrate cutter, there are heads with blades that can also cut aluminum composites up to 4 mm thick. When it comes to foam board and corrugated plastic, 13 mm is the practical limit for the thickness of those materials, and the Fletcher Substrate Cutter has a specific head for those jobs.
When creating a sign, the straightness of the edges is important. Quality substrate cutters like the Fletcher will include features like laser sites for setting up the edge along the cutting arm. A substrate cutter resembles an easel, with a beam running vertically along which the blade runs and a beam running horizontal where the substrate sits. Substrates get clamped into the cutter, which prevents movements during cutting. Vertical sliding bladehead make cutting at perfect angles easy. Unlike a panel saw, a good substrate cutters, such as the Fletcher Substrate Cutter, can also cut through a substrate without leaving any debris behind.
For the different substrate materials, there are different interchangeable heads that go on the vertical beam. Cutting metal substrates requires a specific metal-cutting head, while a job cutting foam board and corrugated plastic would require a Fletcher head with a utility knife blade.
With a substrate cutter, sign shops can be prepared for most any job. Rather than hunting for tools, and figuring out how to cut a substrate, a substrate cutter makes every job easy to set up and complete. This sort of efficiency saves time and money and therefore the equipment quickly pays for itself.
No sense in making measurements and drawing lines, only to hope everything goes OK. After discovering the efficiency a Fletcher brings to your shop, it will quickly become an indispensable tool in your shop. The Fletcher Substrate Cutter can be mounted to the wall, or left free standing. They not only cut down on waste by all but eliminating mistakes, they also provide a much safer method of cutting sign materials. As a tool specifically designed for the job of cutting substrates, it does so in a way that pretty much makes it impossible for you to cut yourself while cutting substrate. Substrate cutters are simply the fastest, easiest and safest way to cut
What better way for a sign shop to build a stronger reputation than by creating signs with perfect edges? There’s something to be said for using the right tool for the job, and when it comes to making signs, a substrate cutter is an essential tool. With a substrate cutter, the margin of error is greatly reduced. A professional sign shop needs professional tools, and a substrate cutter ensures that a professional job gets done every time.
Whether a university is being built or a street fair is springing up, wayfinding signage is one of the keys to a great visitor experience. A university might be more interested in permanent signage solutions, while the street fair’s wayfinding is created from DIY A-frame signs. The basic guiding principles behind the design and placement of those signs should be the same. Signs deliver information, and in wayfinding signage, only a handful of different types of signs are necessary to deliver information. Knowing what those types of signs are is an integral part to creating a useful system of wayfinding signage. So what are the four types of signs? Ernest Dwight (2008) makes the most sense when he lists these four:
Defining these four types of signs is simple, as is knowing how to use them. When designing the system, remember, the simpler the wayfinding signage system is made, the better for all involved; from the designers of the wayfinding signage system, to the visitors using it to get around. The idea behind designing signs is to convey as much information as necessary in as little space possible. That’s why it helps to think of signs in these four different categories. So what are these types of signs and how should they get used?
On August 25, 1916, Congress created the National Park Service. Aside from their natural beauty and the effort that goes into preserving it, National Parks are also well-known for their entrance signs. These entrance signs are a perfect example of what identification signs are all about. They identify the park. Inside the park, identification signs point out specific park features and areas. Identification signs can take the form of words labeling the location, or they can display icons, such as a tent signifying that the location is a campsite. Identification signs serve visitors best if they are easy to understand. They shouldn’t point the way to a location, an identification sign symbolizes arrival at the location. For pointing the way, there are directional signs.
When it comes to pointing the way, the directional or wayfinding signs are the sign for the job. When using directional signage, the best rule to follow is to keeping it simple. When planning a wayfinding system, try to plan it as early in the overall planning stage as possible. Unfortunately, wayfinding plans often get left to the end, and don’t receive the attention they deserve. Directional signs don’t appear at the location, they appear around the location and on the way to the location. Directional signs need to be hidden in plain sight. They should appear at junctions, or anywhere a person on a way to a location might look to see which way to get to that location. Directional signs are also what turn a group of many individuals into a singular crowd. Airports, for instance, aren’t made for standing around; they’re made for transit. Directional signs keep people moving where they shouldn’t be standing still. So someone follows the directional signs until they find the identification sign. When they find that, they’ll need an informational sign to know a little more.
What are the hours of operation? Is public Wi-Fi available? Did the Marquis de Lafayette say this bust of George Washington is the best likeness of him that he’s ever seen? All this and more can be supplied to visitors through informational signs. While informational signs can be found at locations marked by identification signs, they can also provide information about other things along the route. For instance, if an area is under construction, it’d be nice to give a little head’s up to anyone in sandals that the road might get a little rocky. If a way is temporarily closed, that’s also good to know ahead of time. While the informational signs are there to put people in the know, it’s the regulatory signs that tell them what they can and cannot do.
Some of the most important signs are regulatory signs. These signs tell people the regulations or requirements of the area. Is parking allowed? The sign says “no parking,” so no it isn’t. Speed limit signs, no parking signs and stop signs are all good examples of regulatory signs for traffic control, but signs that tell people they need to wear shirts and shoes may also be considered regulatory signs. Is smoking in the area not allowed? How will people know without a regulatory sign with a no smoking allowed symbol? Regulatory signs need to be clearly visible to warn of rules or regulations of which the disregard might constitute a violation of the law or regulate behavior in public places.
The messages on every type of sign listed above should be crystal clear, and as short as possible. Too many signs can be just as bad as too few. Aside from that, the rules are simple; directional signs point the way, identification signs announce the location, informational signs tell about the location, and regulatory signs set rules and regulations for the area.
Dwight, E. (2008). Signs of the Times. American School & University, 80(12), 38-40.
Readability is the #1 consideration. What good can a sign do if it can’t be read at a glance? (click to tweet this)
Our most important lesson: create a budget, know the detail of what you spend, watch cash flow, and control your inventory. (click to tweet this)
It was 2001 when I opened the doors of Signs Direct. Within a year, retailers dominated our client base. In fact, we sell all kinds of POS and sidewalk signage to help them improve sales. Over the years, I’ve seen, watched, or heard of practically everything someone could do to increase traffic and sales. Some of them worked, some worked really well, and most flat-out failed. I was talking to a customer the other day, and she thought it would be a good idea to share the best of the best retail sales tips I’ve learned. If you’re like me, with very little time, you’ll appreciate that the 30 tips I’m going to share are all Tweet-sized. That means less than 140 characters. I hope you enjoy – here’s to happy and prosperous retailing.