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Good information signage is essential for movement to, around and from the stadium.

Clear, legible and suitably positioned signs and ground plans are a vital part of any sports ground’s communications network.

Clear directional signage can reduce the impact on the stewarding resources needing to act as way finders, e.g., clear entry point identification, ideally tallying with ticketing information.

This will require the management to draw up a comprehensive strategy for the whole ground and its immediate environs, encompassing safety-related and informational signs. The aim of this strategy should be to encourage crowds to distribute evenly throughout the approaches to the ground, and inside the ground, and to avoid congestion in key areas.

Particular care should be taken to ensure that all signage and directional instructions, and ground plans, tally exactly with information provided on tickets, in event programmes, or on websites or social media, in terms of their wording, intentions and colour coding.

There are essentially three forms of signs:

Safety signs

Safety signs are there to warn spectators of any risk that may remain after all other controls and safety systems have been put in place. They are not a substitute for other means of controlling risk.

Safety signs appear in five different categories, and should meet the shape and colour requirements specified:

  • Prohibition signs: for example ‘No Smoking’ – circular shape, with a black pictogram on a white background, red edging and a red diagonal line through the pictogram.
  • Warning signs: for example ‘Low Headroom’ or ‘Uneven Steps’ – triangular shape, with a black pictogram on a yellow background, with black edging.
  • Mandatory signs: for example ‘Spectators must not cross this line’ – circular shape, with white pictogram on a blue background.
  • Emergency escape or first aid signs: rectangular or square shape, with a white pictogram on a green background.
  • Fire-fighting equipment signs: rectangular or square shape, with a white pictogram on a red background.

All signs in these categories should be easily seen and understood. If located in areas of poor natural light it may be necessary to provide either artificial illumination and/or to use reflective materials.

Information signs

These are signs communicating information relative to the ground, the event, or to specific restrictions.

Such signs include:

  • Ground plans: simplified ground plans, are displayed at suitable locations, such as by ticket offices and main entrances.
  • Ground regulations: including information on prohibited items.
  • Directional signs: both outside and inside the ground.
  • Seat and row indicators

Signs in this category should not use predominant colouring which could lead to them being confused with safety signs.

Commercial signs

Care should be taken that signs and hoardings in this category are located in such a way that they do not obscure or detract from safety or information signs; for example, by being too close, by blocking the line of vision, or by the over-use of predominant colours utilised in the safety or information signs.

Inclusion issues

When drawing up a signage strategy it is vital to incorporate inclusive design principles
so that the ground will be accessible to as wide a range of visitors as possible.

Points to consider include:

  • People who are deaf or hard of hearing, or are blind or partially sighted, tend to have a greater reliance on easy wayfinding and clear signage.
  • A significant proportion of the population is affected by colour blindness and therefore experiences difficulty in reading or interpreting signs with certain colour combinations. Our Guidance on Colour Vision Deficiency provides information on this.
  • When positioning signs in crowded areas, such as concourses, consideration should be given as to whether they will be visible to children, wheelchair users or people of shorter stature, and whether additional signs may be needed at a higher level.
  • Signs supplemented with tactile text and/or Braille will only be of assistance if provided at the appropriate height, but are not generally appropriate for directional signs in large open spaces.
  • Inclusive signage design principles should be applied not only in areas occupied by the public but also in all other areas of the ground where staff and others might gather or work.

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