Walk This Way: new building signage earns high marks

New campus signage is installed outside the North Towers of Stevenson Residence Hall.
New campus signage is installed outside the North Towers
of Stevenson Residence Hall.

All signs indicate that things are looking up at NIU.

During the month of June, several departments collaborated to vastly improve signage on campus buildings so that students and visitors know where to go and how to get there efficiently.

“Not only do the exterior building signs provide a fresh, contemporary look to our grounds, they also provide navigational guides to those finding their way across campus,” said Kelly Wesener Michael, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students.

“These efforts are also enhanced by the launch of a virtual 3D campus map which is mobile-friendly for those traveling to or across the campus.”

NIU senior Nathan Lupstein shared the sentiment.

“It’s exciting to see the dynamic change on campus,” said Lupstein, president of NIU’s Student Assocation. “Throughout the past year, I think NIU has done an exceptional job enhancing the aesthetic environment of our campus. Along with recently added signage around the commons and on the library, the new exterior building signs are successfully contributing to a more welcoming and sharp-looking campus.”

The university assembled a Signs, Identification Guidance and Navigation Standards (SIGNS) committee, consisting of staff members from a variety of departments, about a year ago. The initial goal was to create a positive change in the “visual impact” of campus as students returned to campus in the fall.

Mission accomplished.

“This group worked quickly to design and install the large banners placed on Founders Memorial Library and Graham Hall, as well as the ‘Ask Me’ campaign and light pole banners which provide building identification and the way-finding system on campus,” Wesener Michael said.

New campus signage is installed outside the North Towers of Stevenson Residence Hall.In addition, the team recommended the installation of interior way-finding signage in several buildings, including Swen Parson Hall, to assist students and visitors with navigation to key campus offices.

Wesener Michael said fiscal responsibility is a hallmark for members of the SIGNS team, and with each project, they have utilized the university’s talented staff in planning and design phases: For example, the graphic production team in Creative Services designed and assembled the new signs.

“We also used existing sign stands as a cost-cutting measure,” Wesener Michael said. “For all the SIGNS projects, when the job scope ventures beyond what our internal staff can reasonably take on, we search diligently for vendors that can provide the best product and services at the most competitive price.”

Signage is one of many campus improvements staff members work on during the summer – and it’s earning high marks.

“I think it is great to have our school colors on the new signs,” said Matt Holmes, vice president of finance for the Campus Activities Board. “It gives a much better sense of school spirit all across campus. The red and black is reflective of the university and the athletic programs, so I feel that it is a definitely a great change when I see all of the new signs on campus.”

by Jane Donahue

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