The most powerful medium of mass communication we remember is the humble sign. One message conveyed prominently and unambiguously to hundreds and thousands who pass by and read it. “Keep off the Grass” “Wet paint” or ‘Beware of Dog” are classic examples of signs conveying a distinct message effectively and the warning keeping people safe from some mishap or problem. But how has this medium changed and transformed in the digital age of today?
All the signs indicted above are basically outdoor signs in parks, fields or porches. In the concrete jungle of today, and the bustling city scenario with airports, malls, hospitals encompassing massive areas, the need for a new generation of signages has necessitated a tectonic shift in the medium itself. The painted wooden board, which is still in use by the way in some places, has mostly been replaced by lighted or reflective options. Some signs grab light in the day and reflect it back in the dark hours. Some are written with material which can be read when light falls on it and some are lit up with bulbs or similar lighting sources for easy vision in darkness.
Photoluminescent signs are mandatory today in enclosed premises for path finding and easy escape in fire or blackout like situations worldwide. One blogger put it succinctly saying, “Signs hold massive power in the business world. Intentionally or unintentionally we all come across signs on a daily basis, be it a signboard showing directions to certain facilities and conveniences or the signage that leads you to discover new places. Signs are a convenient way of communication between a business and its potential customers. Without proper signage backup, your business is nothing but a lost pearl in the ocean of companies that people walk past every day.”
Digital signage is a form of electronic display that can be used in outdoors, highways, railways, bridges, tunnels or the like, digital signages are hugely important to warn and direct people about possible harm or danger ahead. While indoors, photoluminescent signages help people spot safety tools and exit routes in pitch darkness or fire and smoke situations. In buildings or high rises, staircase nosings or floor marker signs are two classic examples of highly important safety signages and illuminated markers or guidance and information tools.
The humble sign has come a long way and digital signages are popular and essential today and be it warning, queue management, directional or informative these signs have become symbols of lifestyles in this 21st century.