Appropriate Signage Works Wonders

Here are some examples that will promote security and safety

To really prevent a crime or keep unauthorized persons out of restricted areas, you have to begin by grabbing their attention. Signs can be very effective tools for accomplishing that task if they are designed to be noticed.

Architects often create signs that blend with the environment. They see signs as objects that distract from the beauty of their design. Unfortunately, distracting and drawing attention is exactly what a sign must do to earn its keep. 

The photo above shows an architecturally correct sign. Unfortunately the sign’s ability to blend in prevents it from preventing non-emergency use of the emergency exit door. The sign below shows signage designed to capture attention. It is large, with contrasting colors and it mounts directly to the door. The attention grabbing power of this sign is supplemented by a virtual barrier; the striped markings below the door. Even persons who walk while staring at their feet will have their attention shifted to the posted restrictions.


Signs, like the ones in the last photo, can be used to draw attention to other prevention features, such as video surveillance cameras, increasing their deterrent effect. Signs drawing attention to video systems should avoid language that promises more than the system can deliver. Cautions like “activities may be recorded,” will generally do the job without encouraging litigation.



If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Jim Grayson is a senior security consultant. His career spans more than 35 years in law enforcement and security consulting. He worked for UCLA on a workplace violence study involving hospitals, schools and small retail environments and consulted with NIOSH on a retail violence prevention study.Grayson’s diverse project experience includes schools, universities, hospitals, municipal buildings, high-rise structures and downtown revitalization projects. He holds a degree in criminal justice and a CPP security management credential from ASIS. He is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer on a wide range of security topics.He can be reached at [email protected]. Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety HQ