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Signs Are Everywhere

Standardized, error-free, professional signage can help keep your facility running smoothly.

Look around your facility. Do you have postings that ask your members and guests to enter here, re-rack weights, be careful of this or that? Did you know that there are specific standards regarding what certain signs should say, their format and the symbols they use? An international standards organization, ASTM International (, developed specifications for signs that address areas like those in your fitness center.

Standards for fitness signs

ASTM developed the Standard Specification for Fitness Equipment and Fitness Facility Safety Signage and Labels (F1749-02) to address sign design, including font, color, placement, minimum wording and symbols (for which they referenced the American National Standards Institute). You may be wondering, what's wrong with my sign in the wet area of the locker room that reads "Floor May Be Slippery When Wet," written in 100 point Arial Black font? The benefit of using a resource like ASTM is that its guidelines are universal and international. When you put up signs to help or protect your members and guests, you want anyone who may walk into your facility to be able to recognize colors, key words and symbols. This could mean the difference between having to fill out incident report paperwork or not.

Lose the tape

When posting signs, instead of using tape across the corners, or even rolled tape behind the corners, the better solution is to invest in uniform sign holders that can be mounted in strategic locations for your permanent and rotating signs. Have you ever seen a handwritten comment on a sign? While the comment may be amusing for a moment, ultimately, it's an eyesore. Sign holders look professional, they're harder to graffiti, it's easy to change notices, and you won't have to subject members and guests to unsightly corner tape.
When done well, signs can be helpful and even powerful.

Lose the markers

Since the advent of computers, there is no reason not to replace a sign that is faded, torn, tattered or in any other way worn. On the same note, handwritten signs should only be used if a sign cannot be made on a computer. Even then, the handwritten sign should be replaced as soon as possible. Signs should be updated or replaced on a monthly basis (this is a great maintenance checklist item).

Find the dictionary

Sign errors can be a big distraction for the reader. The wrong date, bad grammar, spelling errors and outdated information are common signage problems. The easiest way to avoid this simple, and potentially embarrassing, mistake is to have someone proofread your postings. It's much better to have a coworker find a mistake than a member. And, all word processing programs have spell and grammar checks - use them! Additionally, the American College of Sports Medicine produces what many consider the fitness facility bible, ACSM's Health/Fitness Facility Standards and Guidelines. This is a phenomenal resource for every aspect of your facility, and it has a chapter dedicated to signage. Signs can be a great tool for your facility and your members. When done well, they can be helpful and even powerful. An investment in time, research and a little capital can go a long way toward creating effective signage for your facility.

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