5 Valuable Tips for Retirement Facility Signs
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As a sign shop owner, you’ve likely worked with a variety of businesses in your community and beyond. However, if you’ve never filled an order for a senior living center before, you may have some questions about how to approach such a project to ensure the client gets the best possible signage for their facility—especially if the client in question hasn’t provided a lot of guidelines…
Fabricating retirement facility signs can be a tricky task, as there are a number of factors to take into consideration.
- Most of the residents have poor eyesight, which makes clearly visible signage all the more important.
- The staff members undoubtedly want to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere to help residents feel at home, which means the sign design needs to reflect that.
- Some residents may have trouble remembering directions, which means signs should allow for easy navigation throughout the building.
In an effort to assist sign shop owners who have recently been brought on to fabricate retirement facility signs for a client, we’ve compiled a list of 5 valuable tips to apply to such a project.
1) Use Icons and Pictures
The use of graphics in retirement facility signs is strongly recommended, as it can improve a resident’s ability to understand what a sign means. Of course, the presence of male and female figures on restroom signs is a common sight in virtually every public building, but it’s especially important in senior living centers.
Additionally, various other icons can be printed on signage to help residents and visitors determine the purpose of a particular room.
- A picture of a plate and eating utensils can be used on a sign identifying the dining room.
- An image of a comb and scissors can be used on a sign identifying the salon.
- A graphic of a church or other religious symbol can be used on a sign identifying the chapel.
- And so on…
Further, the inclusion of resident photographs in room number signs is becoming an increasingly popular trend, especially in assisted living facilities. When working with such an organization, recommend leaving space in room number signs during the fabrication process so that staff members can insert photos and names of residents. Doing so can not only make identification easier but also help residents feel a sense of belonging.
2) Choose an Attractive Design
The staff members who work at both assisted and independent living centers strive to cultivate a pleasant atmosphere for residents. In many cases, such facilities are meant to be a lifelong home, not a temporary living situation. As such, it’s important for signage to fit with the décor and help in developing a cohesive theme throughout the building.
When working on retirement facility signs, get as much information from the client as possible and encourage your design team to offer recommendations as well.
Here are some additional tips you may consider applying to your project:
- Inquire as to what colors are prominent in the building.
- Aim to use warm tones in the design.
- Incorporate the organization’s logo whenever possible.
- Make sure not to use any potentially confusing or offensive graphics.
- Double-check that elements of the sign don’t interfere with ADA guidelines.
3) Create Signs for All Important Rooms and Areas
Recommending that a senior living center obtain signage for all important rooms and areas of the building isn’t just a wise business decision—it’s also a way to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the client’s industry.
Having strategically placed signage in such a facility can offer several benefits to residents, staff, and visitors.
- It can help new employees in locating specific areas of the building.
- It can aid residents who are struggling with memory loss and get turned around easily.
- It can show family members of potential residents that the organization goes above and beyond for those in their care.
Moreover, when working on retirement facility signs for a client—especially if they’re in the process of renovating or constructing a brand-new building—it’s helpful to make a list of the signs they need. Even if there are some displays you’re unable to fabricate in your own shop, providing the client with such valuable information will allow you to prove yourself as an authority on the topic, increasing the chances of them becoming a repeat client and referring your shop to others.
4) Keep It Simple
Fabricating displays with ultra-bright colors, modern graphics, and intricate designs may be a good approach if your client is a tech company, but it’s not the route you want to take with a senior living center.
Retirement facility signs should be clean and simple, making it easy for residents to read and immediately comprehend what a particular display is trying to convey. Otherwise, signage becomes more of an inconvenience than if there were nothing in place at all.
When working on this type of project, make sure your graphic design team fully understands the assignment they’ve been given. Additionally, give the client some suggestions if they’re at a loss for what their signs should look like or if they’re headed in a bad direction.
5) Ensure ADA Compliance
Finally, one of the most important factors to consider when working on retirement facility signs is the need for ADA compliance. Regardless of whether your client operates an assisted or independent living center, chances are they have elderly residents with mild to severe disabilities related to sight, hearing, and/or mobility.
With this in mind, most of your client’s signs should follow ADA guidelines, including the following:
- High contrast (70% is recommended) between text and background
- Sans serif font with proper spacing between characters
- Appropriate sized lettering
- Non-glare finish
- Correct mounting height and placement
- Braille lettering on signage indicating permanent spaces
In addition to fostering an atmosphere of inclusiveness and making sure that all residents and staff can read the signs, ensuring that signs are ADA compliant can help your client avoid the potential risk of fines or lawsuits.
Producing retirement facility signs for a client can be a challenge, but it also provides the opportunity for your shop to learn and grow. Moreover, it also opens up the possibility for a lucrative partnership, as it may be in your best interest to outsource retirement facility signs to a shop that specializes in fabricating ADA-compliant displays.