Why Your Business Needs Crowd Control Signs
For many business owners, crowd control signs are an afterthought.
Once you’ve spent money buying stanchions, barricades, and barriers, and everything else you need to run your business, purchasing directional signs can feel like an unnecessary cost.
After all, you set up a well-organized queue and placed a bathroom sign outside the restroom. Your customers know how to stand in a line and find a bathroom, why do you need to buy additional signs that tell them what they should already know how to do?
Well, for one, it probably isn’t as clear to your customers where the line for your checkout queue starts. And just because you know the bathrooms are near the back of the stadium, that doesn’t mean people will automatically know how to go there.
Your customers and visitors should never be left guessing where to go next because confused customers hurt your bottom line. Studies have shown that things like waiting in line or confusion about how to enter a line significantly decrease customer satisfaction scores.
And when customers are unhappy, they’ll choose another airline, shop at a different bookstore, pick a different movie theatre, or get their coffee down the block.
Directional signs - exit signs, bathroom directions, queue entrance signs - help funnel people from point A to point B.
Not only that, but directional signs cut down on business costs. Rather than having your employee spend valuable time answering the question, “Where’s the checkout?” 30 times a day, that person is free to complete more useful tasks.
Between clearing up the confusion, making sure your customers stay happy, and saving your business money, using crowd control signs is a no-brainer.
Here is everything you need to know about which types of crowd control signs you need and how you can use them to run a better business.
Directional Signs: The Basics
It’s not enough to buy a couple of signs and place them randomly around your stadium, government building, or retail store. Knowing where to place your signs and what types are the keys to effective crowd control.
1. Think about sightlines
When we think about signs, typically we think of billboards, large food menus, or highway signs. All of these are signs that make us look up to get the information we need.
Directional signs, on the other hand, should never be placed overhead.
Place crowd control signs at eye level where people don’t have to work to see them.
When someone is looking for a sign that tells them where to go, they’re already confused about what to do next. If that person has to spend the time to figure out where the sign is that tells them the information they need, their stress level will increase, leading to poor customer satisfaction.
Queue entrance signs, signs in a hospital directing people to a particular ward, or restroom signs in any facility should be placed at eye level.
2. Don’t overdo it
Even though it might seem like a good idea to outfit your signs with fancy colors, graphics, logos, and flashing lights, resist the urge.
People tune out distractions, and that’s what excessive colors, fancy fonts, and needless graphics look like.
Keep your directional signs simple with standard colors - red, green, yellow, orange - and use simple fonts with all capital letters.
3. Be bright!
Just because you’re keeping your sign’s designs simple, it doesn’t mean you should use muted colors.
Boldly colored signs grab people’s attention and are easy to find. Make sure your signs are in contrasting colors to the rest of your business so that they stand out.
4. One sign is never enough
In a large airport, one sign ten feet from the bathroom outside gate 42 isn’t going to help someone standing near gate 13 figure out where to go.
The larger your space, the more directional signs you’ll need. In big open spaces, plan to place a sign at least every 30 feet. In spaces where you’re directing people around corners or going up and down stairs, you’ll need more signs spaced closer together.
5. Place signs wherever people congregate
Where you place your signs is equally as important as the number of signs that you employ.
Put your signs where people congregate - as they’re coming out of one room and into the next, at the top and bottoms of staircases, at the landings of elevators, etc.
If you’re trying to steer people from one far-off corner of your facility to another, place “leading” signs closer together than you think they should be. People are easily distracted and need to be reminded often.
6. Be careful with arrow placement
Arrows can be easily misinterpreted. An arrow directing someone up an escalator can be misread as a direction to keep walking forward.
If you’re at all worried someone might be confused by an arrow’s intended direction, don’t be afraid to place cues under the arrows like “up,” “down,” “left,” or “right.”
Types of Directional Signs
There are a variety of different types of crowd control signs, and you probably need at least a few different kinds for different areas of your business.
First, there are stanchion top sign frames. These sit on top of retractable belt barrier stanchions, classic stanchion posts, or stand-alone stanchion post sign frames. Stanchion top sign frames are a popular choice because they integrate seamlessly with your existing queue set up.
These frames can sit on top of retractable belt barrier stanchions or classic stanchion sign frames. Heavy-duty post-top sign frames have a wide steel border with two sheets of clear acrylic on either side of the frame, making it easy to slide a new sign in and out.
Some styles are made to hold more substantial pieces of paper, eliminating the need for the clear acrylic sheets.
These sign holders are similar to heavy-duty post-top sign frames, but instead of being outlined with steel, they’re outlined with plastic. Standard post top sign frames come with either two sheets of acrylic to hold a piece of paper, or with a thicker middle sign holder that a piece of paper or sign can slide into.
These sit atop classic stanchion posts or stand-alone stanchion posts. Adjustable heigh sign stands can be adjusted up or down or tilted backward or forwards to make it easier for a reader standing right next to the sign to read what it says. Typically, they have a steel border with a clear acrylic sheet on front and an opaque plastic backing.
Bracket signs also sit atop classic stanchions or retractable belt barriers. Bracket signs are made from a frameless sheet of acrylic fixed into a bracket. The sheet of acrylic is printed with messages like “Enter Here” or “Exit.”
These signs are great for when you need to switch out your signs throughout the day because they are easy to swap out.
Plastic stanchion sign frames sit atop plastic stanchions and typically do not have a frame. Instead, they feature a plastic slot in which to insert a thick piece of paper or a plastic sign.
If you’re using barricades to control your crowds rather than classic stanchion posts or retractable belt barriers, barricade jacket covers can be used as crowd control signs.
People typically think of barricade jacket covers as a tool for branding or advertising, but they can be used as informational tools as well.
By printing directional signs, caution signs, and other useful information on barricade jacket covers, you can create a seamless crowd control solution.
When you’re don’t have a queue, and you’re trying to filter people through a facility, or if you want your crowd control signage to be permanent, wall mounted signs are the way to go.
Wall mounted signs are typically made of hard plastic that is mounted to the wall with brackets. These signs can be backlit, like exit signs in a movie theatre.
Now that you’ve learned the basics of crowd control signs, do you need a refresher on how to set up a queue? Read our post about it here.
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