The Psychology of Office Signage

office signs

Workplace psychology is an increasingly important area of study in the modern world. For many people, their day job – the thing they do to contribute to the world – is a key part of their sense of self and emotional wellbeing, and the signage at their place of employment can affect how they feel about it.

Psychological studies conducted throughout the previous 100 years have concluded time and again that fulfilling, meaningful work can play a major role in mental wellbeing. And more than ever, we’re becoming aware that environmental workplace factors have a big influence over the happiness and productivity of employees.

The use of certain types of signage around the office can make a significant difference to the productivity, mood and wellbeing of your team. In this post, we’re going to look at some of the ways you can use signs to promote a happy, healthy workplace.

Inside and out

 We tend to think of signage as being only found on the outside of buildings, but of course, there are all sorts of uses for signs indoors.

Often, these might be purely functional installations to identify the reception area or the way to the nearest fire escape point, but there are many other uses for interior signs.

Along with straightforward wayfinding and safety signage, there are also possibilities for large format printed signs to add imagery, text, or colour to an office wall.

The imagery that employees see every day can even have a significant effect on their productivity – for example, a study carried out in 2016 found that people often feel less stressed when viewing even quite basic images of nature.

Just think of the possibilities for placing natural, encouraging, friendly, exciting or otherwise stimulating imagery on large-format signs around the office – and the effect it could have on the day-to-day feelings of your staff.


Of course, your exterior signage can also play a major role in the way people feel about your company. Especially for new visitors and customers, high-quality outdoor signs can serve as a great introduction to your place of business and get them interested in your brand assets right away.


Promoting creative thinking


A study by Deloitte found that “94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success” – and another study by computing giant Microsoft found that as many of 41% British office workers cite their boring workplace as a major hindrance to their creativity.

In other words: if you value innovative thinking, don’t put your employees in a generic workspace that looks like every other office.

Signage doesn’t have to be just a picture stuck on the wall – a good sign manufacturer can make all sorts of interesting shapes, extruded three-dimensional objects, and illuminated or electronic elements.

By installing some weird and wonderful signs in your workplace, you can lead by example – and let your creativity inspire and encourage the same from your team.


The influence of colour


Colour psychology is a well-established concept, and it’s about the way that different colours influence how we think and feel.

Depending on the colours you use for your workplace signage, you can create a ‘feeling’ about the environment that it is an optimistic place, a good place to be creative, a great location for thinking analytically, or that it has any of a number of other attributes.

Some common colour associations can vary according to cultural backgrounds or mere personal preference, but there are some good options that ring true in the majority of situations (such as white symbolising peace or purity, and green evoking nature).

A complete and detailed analysis of the psychological associations of different colours would be somewhat beyond the scope of this post. However, generally speaking, warm colours promote optimism and vigour (although they can also be associated with feelings of anxiety if overdone). On the other hand, cool colours tend to influence a methodical and diligent frame of mind.

Of course, signage isn’t just for subconscious colour association, and one advantage of the medium is that it can also be used for overt messaging at the same time.

This can be very useful for sharing…


Brand values


Your business will likely have a guiding ethos or set of values that underpins everything you do, and it’s always a good idea to reinforce that outlook among your team members.

Office signage is the perfect way to put your brand values front-and-centre in the minds of your employees. Whether you go for a large-format printed mural, an acrylic wall sign or a vinyl application on a glass wall, there are lots of ways to get your principles and slogans physically incorporated into the workplace.

Another nice thing about brand value signage is that the messaging is also encouraging to any visitors who may happen to drop by your office. After all, it’s another opportunity to spread your brand messaging to a potential customer.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the design of your office and its branding can affect the quality of the talent your business can attract. If you want to hire the best, your workplace needs to look the part – and slick signage is a key part of that goal.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your necessary, functional signage has to be boring. Apart from safety signage (which has to comply with well-established design conventions as a matter of law), there is otherwise no reason not to make the most of your practical signage.

For example, you could present wayfinding signage with your brand colours or typography. Gendered bathrooms could be indicated with something more creative than the usual iconographic male/female logos. Notices to employees could be redesigned to include inspiring imagery or soothing colours as appropriate.


At the end of the day, signage is an incredibly powerful tool for any office owner. Both indoors and out, signage can play a huge role in how both visitors and employees perceive your business.


By incorporating brilliant interior design, psychology and branding principles into the look of your workplace, you can directly influence the mood and productivity of your staff members for the better.


This post was contributed by Medash Signs, a sign making company in Ashford with over forty years of experience creating signage for offices, commercial premises and businesses of all types in Kent and beyond.


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