One of the things visitors will notice when they first visit a new church is the signs, directing them to where they need to go. It's not something that churches often think about, but wayfinding and destination signage are markers your guests will utilize when getting around your church building.
At Fishhook, we are guests at many churches around the country and have observed five strategies you should consider when arranging your exterior signage.
1. Make Signs Self-Navigable/Intuitive. Make sure your signage gives a brief and clear path to follow. If it's a primary directional sign, never give more than five (5) choices for the pedestrian and/or driver. Keep it simple and clean (think white on black).
2. Ensure Visibility. Make sure your signs are large enough to read. That might be obvious, but be sure to keep an eye on this over time. Has landscaping grown over some signs? Has paint faded making once clear signs hard to see? Or have you renovated, making old signs obsolete?
3. Help the Pedestrian/Driver. Provide a decision wherever a decision needs to be made. You may have told people 300 feet ago that the entrance was straight ahead, but they might have forgotten by the time they reach the stop sign. Keep them on the right path and reaffirm that they're headed the right way.
4. Avoid Member Jargon. You might know what the FLC is or that Entrance 3 is the main door. However, a first-time guest probably doesn't know these details. Call it what it is: Gym, Main Entrance, etc.
5. Follow the Rules. When it comes to outdoor signage, you must navigate the regulation waters of your town, city, county, neighborhood, and more. You will be held responsible for following the regulations for sign materials, lighting, legibility, height, distance from road, and ADA accessibility. Attend a town planning meeting to ensure you have the proper permits and follow the rules for your signage.
The first challenge of growing a church is getting people into your building. Outdoor signage can't do it all, but poor signage can certainly make it a lot more difficult.