Your gateway to expert insights and latest trends

Breaking Barriers: The Subtle Influence of Signs on Public Inclusivity

March 6, 2024
Sign with wheelchair graphic and right-pointing arrow. Text reads 'Accessible entrance'.

Businesses and institutions are examining and transforming every aspect of their environment in a world that is becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive. While seemingly inconspicuous, signs are crucial in communication and navigation within these transformed spaces. By updating signage to be more inclusive, we can create environments that welcome and empower all individuals, fostering a sense of belonging and equality.

Promoting Accessibility:

One of the primary reasons for updating signage is to promote accessibility for people with disabilities. Traditional signage often fails to accommodate individuals with visual impairments, cognitive disabilities, or mobility challenges. By incorporating braille, clear visual cues, and pictograms, we can ensure that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can access and navigate public spaces independently. Properly executed signage can help transform public areas into truly inclusive environments where all individuals feel valued and respected.

Circular sign with black graphic on frosted glass. Text reads 'RESTROOM'. Above the text is a graphic with three symbols for: wheelchair user, male, female.

Reflecting Gender Diversity:

In pursuing gender equality, it is essential to recognize and respect the diverse identities of individuals. Traditional signage often reinforces gender stereotypes by utilizing binary symbols like "men" and "women." By replacing such signs with inclusive alternatives, we can create spaces that embrace gender diversity. Including gender-neutral or all-gender restroom signs, for instance, acknowledges and affirms the rights of individuals who identify outside the gender binary. Updating signage not only enhances inclusivity but also sends a powerful message of acceptance and support.

Side view of a door with a sign mounted on the right side. The sign is dark gray with white graphics. The graphic contains a toilet at the top; below that is the universal symbol for wheelchair user above the word 'WASHROOM'.

Embracing Cultural Sensitivity:

Alberta is a rich tapestry of cultures, and public spaces must reflect this diversity. Inclusive signage should consider the cultural backgrounds and languages of the communities it serves. Incorporating multilingual signs, symbols, and pictograms helps bridge communication gaps and ensures everyone can understand and engage with the information provided. By embracing cultural sensitivity, signage becomes a means to celebrate diversity and create a more harmonious society.

When reimagining spaces to be more inclusive, well-thought-out signage must be considered a priority. By embracing inclusive signage, we create environments that foster a profound sense of belonging to people from all walks of life.  

A stock image: looking down on five pairs of hands joined at the center; one pair is cupping a seedling.