Recently we were asked to make a Health and Safety sign to ‘match’ the branding of a company whose image is traditional, natural and hand-made.
These are not characteristics of Health and Safety signage – but legislators, led by European bosses – have spent years of time, energy and our money designing them as they are for a reason.
Colours, typeface, symbols and wording all follow prescribed patterns so that signs are instantly recognisable and recognised. After all, emergency signs are needed in an emergency situation – a stressful and unusual one, when we’re prone to panic and we need to respond automatically and to unconscious commands.
REPETITION OF LOGO OR BRAND GETS RESULTS
We – as signmakers – teach our customers that repetition of a logo or brand is a powerful psychological tool:
* that increases a consumer’s recall (how well a message is remembered within a short period of time) and
* recognition (how quickly a message is correctly identified) of their brands.
So, we make bespoke health and safety signage by ADDING brands and logos, but we cannot change the legal images.
CHANGING DISABILITY SYMBOLS
Away from Europe, New York state is taking another look at one symbol in particular, used the world over.
They are considering changing the blue-and-white wheelchair symbol for disability access to a more “dynamic” image.
James Moore, writing in The Independent, says that Disability Rights UK are broadly keen on the “more positive and less passive” sign – but point out that the 11 million people classified as living with disability in Britain are not all using wheelchairs.
May be seen in New York soon: The more dynamic disability symbol: but could you do better?
“The chase is still on for a sign that can capture a range of disabilities,” said Liz Sayce, Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK.
So, designers – the gauntlet is thrown down!