Types of signage

Mark Woolmer

If you’re searching for your next sign, you may be Googling ‘signage suppliers’ or ‘sign companies,’ click on your chosen search result, and found a long list of different types of signs on offer. Digital signs, outdoor signs, directional signs – even fingerpost and ladder signs – there are a number of signage options available. But what type of sign do you need for your project and which is most suitable for your needs?

Firstly, we’ll take a close look at the category of signs.

1. Digital Signs:

Digital signs are electronic displays that can show dynamic content such as images, videos, and animations. Not only do they catch the eye and capture attention, but they’re also used to communicate important information in a digital format – meaning the messages can be easily changed. These signs are usually placed in high-traffic areas where they can be easily seen by a large number of people.

You’ll typically find digital signage in the following places:

  • Retail stores to promote clothing ranges or offers
  • Restaurants to display menus
  • Airports – a popular place for digital advertisements
  • Hotels – a modern way to show key information
  • Corporate offices – digital wayfinding is increasing in popularity 
  • Schools and colleagues – to provide direction and timely updates – in fact “73% of educational institutions consider digital signage as essential for communication in the coming years (view source).

2. Outdoor Signs:

As the name suggests, outdoor signs are designed to be positioned outside of a building or strategically placed in areas that require communication with those on site. They can be made of a variety of weatherproof materials such as aluminium or treated oak. There are a number of outdoor signs available depending on the type of sign you required. For example, waymarking signs can be used in national parks to direct walkers.

Types of businesses or organisations that need outdoor signs:

  • National parks to direct visitors
  • Heritage sites to direct visitors
  • Public places such as high streets
  • Hotels to direct visitors around the grounds
  • Other Parks, fields and recreation areas.

This is the type of signage that we specialise in and have been for over 2520 years – so get in touch if you’re looking for a quality outdoor signage supplier. 

3. Information Signage

Information signage is used to convey specific information to people such as directions, warnings, or instructions. These signs are usually placed in areas where people need to be informed about something or where safety is a concern, but can also be used to communicate information to a community.

If you’ve ever been to the zoo, you may also see informational signage such as lecterns that are used to communicate important or interesting information about the surroundings – or in the case of a zoo – the Latin name of an Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus if you’re interested).

Types of businesses or organisations that need information signage:

  • Churches – notice boards to display information
  • Train stations to display train time information
  • Hospitals and healthcare facilities for organisation purposes.
  • Schools, colleges and universities
  • Museums and places of interest
  • Government buildings
  • Construction sites to communicate health and safety information

4. Retail Signs:

You would have seen retail signs in every single shop on the high street. These signs are used to promote their products or services and attract customers. They can be placed inside or outside of a store and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Retail signs can include things like banners, posters, and window displays.

Types of businesses that need retail signs:

  • Clothing stores
  • Supermarkets and grocery stores
  • Electronics stores
  • Furniture stores
  • Beauty salons

5. Signs That Are Legally Required:

Certain signs are required by UK law to be displayed in certain businesses or areas. These signs often go undetected – until you really need / look for them! These signs can include things like fire exit signs, no smoking signs, and handicap accessibility signs. They are important for the safety and well-being of employees and customers.

Who uses legally required signs? 

  • Restaurants and food service establishments
  • Hotels and motels
  • Public spaces
  • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • Office buildings
  • Public transportation
  • Construction sites
  • Manufacturing plants

Now let’s discuss the sign products themselves. A number of these signage products are versatile and can be used for a range of purposes. Here are the main types of signage that we know and love:


Fingerposts are directional signs that typically have a pointed “finger” that points in the direction of a specific location – hence the name. They’re great for guiding people to a particular destination, whether it’s a town centre, tourist attraction, or hiking trail. You may have seen a finger post in your local town, or on a holiday resort pointing you in the direction of your beach villa.

Grenadier Pedestrian Fingerpost Beckenham
Grenadier Pedestrian Fingerpost Beckenham


Waymarking Disks

Waymarking disks are small, circular signs found on cycling routes and walking trails to provide clear directions to visitors. They’re usually attached to posts or trees along the route, and can be colour-coded to indicate different trails or levels of difficulty – ignore them at your own risk!

Grenadier Waymarking Post Beckenham
Grenadier Waymarking Disc Beckenham


Lectern Signs:

Lectern signs are signs that are mounted on a stand or lectern. They’re typically used to provide information to visitors at parks, gardens, or other outdoor attractions. They can include maps, trail information, or descriptions of historical or cultural landmarks. They’re slightly different to the lecterns you see in lecture theatres or churches – but have a similar shape!

Steel Lectern Marriotts Way
Steel Lectern Marriotts Way


Interpretation Boards:

Interpretation boards are large signs that provide detailed information about a specific site or attraction. You’ll usually see them placed at historical sites, museums, or nature reserves, and can include diagrams, photographs, and other visuals to help visitors understand the significance of the location.

Successful signage tips

Project: Staunton Country Park 

Ladder Signs:

Ladder signs are signs that are mounted on a tall, vertical pole or ladder and are used to provide directions or information in areas with high foot traffic. You’ll see ladder signs in places such as airports or shopping malls.

Timber Effect Plastic Wayfinding Ladder Sign
Timber Effect Plastic Wayfinding Ladder Sign


Waymarking Posts:

Waymarking posts are similar to fingerposts but are typically smallertaller and lessmore visible. They do exactly what the name suggests – provide clear markings of popular routes, hiking trails, bike paths, and other outdoor routes.

Grenadier Footpath Waymarking Beckenham
Grenadier Footpath Waymarking Beckenham


Monoliths and totems:

Monoliths are large, freestanding signs that can be made of, wood, stone, metal or plastic. They’re often used to mark entrances to parks, historic sites, or other attractions but can also be used to direct visitors to car parks or specific areas of your site. They can be quite impressive and eye-catching and really smarten up the appearance of an outdoor place whilst providing functional use.

Project: Ramsgate Town Council 

Signage material types

Lastly, each type of sign is available in a number of materials depending on how – or more importantly – where the sign will be used.

Recycled Plastic Signs:

Recycled plastic signs are made from plastic that has been recycled from post-consumer waste. They are durable, weather-resistant, and have a long lifespan. These signs are a great choice for businesses or organisations that want to be environmentally conscious.

Recycled Plastic Interpretation Lectern
Recycled Plastic Interpretation Lectern


Metal Signs:

Metal signs are made from materials like aluminium or steel. They are strong and durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions. Metal signs can be painted or printed on, making them a versatile option for those that want a specific design. We’ve used metal for a number of projects including metal lecterns, finger posts and monoliths.

Wood Signs (Oak Signs):

Wood signs, especially those made from oak, have a classic and rustic look. They are durable and can be treated to withstand exposure to the elements. Wood signs can be easily carved or engraved with a business’s name or logo, making them a great option for those who need a high level of personalisation. We’ve used wood to craft aesthetically pleasing entrance signs as well as footpath waymarking posts and interpretation displays.

Notice Board Petersham
Notice Board Petersham

Still not sure which type of signage you need? Get in touch with Fitzpatrick Woolmer today on 01634 711771 and we’ll talk you through your options and expected pricing.

Mark Woolmer

Mark Woolmer

With a strong background in art and design, Mark is passionate about the capacity for excellent design as a communication tool, leading the Fitzpatrick Woolmer company and focusing on strategy, business development and continual improvement.

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