The primary placement of commercial signs has been the storefront,be it a window or the facade. Certainly,this is still true for many businesses and organizations,but the high information,content,and communication needs have put lobby signage nearly on par with the bulky,branding markers of a business’s name and location. Web-enabled “smart” devices demonstrate the way in which old-fashioned marketing has fallen short. Customers are seemingly more likely to find a business through a search engine than randomly passing by in their motor vehicles. After all,with gas prices this high,who has the money for any extraneous driving? Likewise,in a society that’s finally maturing from the early stages and false-starts of the “Information Age,” it’s the easy access to limitless information that drives foot traffic and consumption behaviors alike.
The Lobby’s Location and Role
As hard as it is to overestimate the importance of first impressions,it’s the building lobby that serves as the first substantial interaction for many businesses and their clients. Whether it’s a hotel and its guest,a public agency and a constituent,a museum and a vacationing family,a university building and a freshman student,the lobby is the nerve center for delivering information,directing visitors throughout the property,completing financial transactions,and fielding all kinds of queries. In fact,it’s hard to imagine a lobby without also picturing an information,receptionist,or customer service desk.-
What Lobby Signage can Do
Here,too,the sky is the limit or,perhaps,the horizon is the better analogy,as the breadth of various signage applications is staggering. Building directories,building maps and wayfinding information,menu offerings,prices for any type of product or service,hours of operation,event calendars,promotional advertising,policies and regulations,ADA signage,news and weather updates,welcome messages,along with countless other signage functions. Of course in designing and implementing signage for a specific lobby,it’s important to identify and prioritize these various functions in a way that makes sense for the individual building and its operations. What should be the first thing a visitor sees upon entering the lobby? What signs and information are best relegated to the lobby’s periphery and/or at the entry points to the rest of the building? Which of these functions can be served in other parts of the building or left out altogether?
Digital Lobby Signage and Software
Digital signage software providers offer targeted signage capabilities and integrated functions. Specific applications can be bought as part of the software package and deliver state-of-the-art signage for wayfinding,building directories,menu boards,event listings,live news updates,and other services. An interactive touch screen kiosk can allow a single and subtle station to serve the vast majority of the building’s information and communication needs. Moreover,these interactive signs can largely supplant the need for costly service staff and other operating costs.