Not everyone who sets foot on your property is aware of your building’s layout. You’d also be surprised how many in your congregation don’t know your church as well as you, either.

Simply hang around the info desk on a Sunday. People become aware of things they need to know and seek information only when needed. Signage is critical to them.

Then, consider the first-time guest who arrives. They probably don’t look very different from your congregation, so it’s difficult to identify them as a visitor. And more than likely (if they’re like the average visitor), they don’t want to be acknowledged until they’re ready to be. Signage is critical to them while they live incognito.

Here are seven critical directions to effective church signage:

1. Great signage starts with your audience.

For signage to work, you must consider what THEY want and need (not what you think they do). However, there are times that a sign helps them gently understand options that they're not aware of. But communication needs to start with THEM.

Put yourself in their shoes and enter the campus the way they would; go to the buildings that each of your personas typically would. Pretend you know very little. Imagine when questions would arise. Seek to answer them when they need them through a good sign.

2. Keep them simple.

You’ll be tempted to over-direct. Resist that. Give them just the information they will need. Edit so words are used minimally. Don’t overdo design so the info is difficult to read.

3. Ensure they’re not confusing.

Visuals and icons seem to simplify but be careful they don’t confuse. Also, consider how the signs will be viewed when crowds interrupt viewing them.

Don’t move people directionally towards some place unless another sign is where the next decision needs to be made. Don’t create a sign that raises questions! Ensure they only answer them.

4. Height and location are key.

Consider the sign’s audience and how big crowds around them will be, affix them at a proper height so they’re not obstructed, and are viewable for its audience. Kids need signs that make sense to them and are at a height suitable to them with a ton of people around.

5. Use branding (but sparingly).

Signage is a perfect way to add reminders of your controlled branding around the campus. This consistency assures people about your brand promise and helps calm signage. Use consistent fonts and colors but don’t overdue logos and design elements.

Exterior signs may need logos but inside signage probably doesn’t. Signage need to be highly functional — don’t clutter with branding that’s not required. Think clarity!

6. Ensure they’re aging well.

Walk and drive around your church and ensure your signs are weathering well since they represent your church’s helpfulness and quality. Never let a sign subconsciously say you don’t care for guests and your congregation.

7. Consider the back.

Think about who may see your signs from the opposite direction (if visible). Use that real estate to speak to them. Make the message relevant for the direction they’re head