Go Pro With School Sign Design: 3 Tips To Engage And Educate Students

Go Pro with School Sign Design: 3 Tips to Engage and Educate Students

Today’s post reviews guidelines from multiple sign studies and the Texas Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices to help readers design more effective school sign systems.

Read for a few quick tips, or call (972)-428-3200 to start a free school sign consultation with our team in Carrollton, TX.

Improve School Sign Legibility With Mixed-Case Copy

Resist the urge to write your school sign copy in uppercase letters. Contrary to popular belief, this does not improve legibility. In one study on the subject, Garvey et al. noted that when upper and mixed-case words occupied the same sign area, there was “significant improvement in reading distance with the mixed-case words.”

Practice Brevity: Enhance Wayfinding With Simple School Signs

Visually complex signs can be very effective in the right context, but sometimes less is more. This is often the case with school signs used in wayfinding applications, where students are trying to quickly orient themselves and find their way to class before the bell, with no time to waste poring over dense blocks of text.

In fact, in one 2014 study by the School Libraries Worldwide, researchers assessing the effectiveness of school wayfinding systems found that “the remembrances of signs decreased when the number of contained words increased.”

Thus, if you want to improve the effectiveness of on-campus navigation and wayfinding, you’ll need to practice brevity. Look for opportunities to replace written directions with symbols (e.g. an arrow pointing left is better than a written directive to turn left), and be ruthless in your copy editing!

Effortlessly Inform Students With Templated School Signs

Not every school sign needs to be designed from scratch. For example, if you’re ordering school signs to help direct traffic, the Texas Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices says that “fluorescent yellow-green school signs must be installed adjacent to educational facilities.” The TMUTCD further stipulates that these school signs must be made from special, highly reflective materials to increase driver awareness.

In this situation, trying to incorporate your school colors or bespoke designs would be a wasted effort, and it could even put you at risk of local sign code noncompliance.

Similarly, school signs intended for safety and wayfinding purposes often work best with universally recognizable templates, which require less cognitive processing to interpret since they’re already familiar to most readers.

It’s a win-win situation—you save time and money by skipping the design phase, and your school signs serve you better.

Order Custom School Signs In Carrollton, TX

We can help you with the most popular school sign types, and everything is completely customizable. Whether you’re looking for motivational posters, school traffic and drop-off signs, signage to promote upcoming events on-campus, or monument signs to anchor your roadside wayfinding system, we’re here to help.

Call (972)-428-3200 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.


Garvey, P. M., Pietrucha, M. T., & Meeker, D. (1997). Effects of font and capitalization on legibility of guide signs. Transportation Research Record, 1605(1), 73-79.

Johnston, M. P., & Mandel, L. H. (2014). Are we leaving them lost in the woods with no breadcrumbs to follow? Assessing signage systems in school libraries. School Libraries Worldwide, 38-53.

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