Interior directional signage within primary schools tends to be quite limited, simply because they’re often not that big. What we have seen, however, is a huge growth in the market for wall art, inspirational messaging and personalised reception displays.
When entering a primary school 15 years ago, you would typically see examples of students’ work stapled everywhere. What we’re finding now is a newer, younger breed of headteacher wanting professionally-made visuals to be displayed in their schools’ main public areas that can brighten up and inspire pupils when they come in.
We’ve previously transformed one corridor into a spaceship interior with the aid of wall illustrations and some 18 months later we’re still getting positive feedback. We turned four doors leading off the corridor into ‘airlocks’, with control panels beside them that the kids could interact with.
It’s still common to find A3 or A2 posters in classrooms that relay rules, regulations and messages about the school’s ethos and so on, which are sometimes housed within grip frame display systems. Some heads have asked us to incorporate their values into fun-looking displays so that they attract more attention. One school had us develop a design for a 10m wide set of double doors between two large classrooms so that they resembled a gingerbread cottage while incorporating the school’s values, so that’s what we came up with.
If a design is going to be used in areas of heavy foot traffic, we’ll print it onto 5mm plastic that’s screwed and taped to the wall. That way it can be much harder wearing in a corridor where bags are going to be constantly rubbing up against it.
In some cases it’s surprising how much schools are prepared to spend, though we’ve found that MATs generally tend to spend less. When carrying out our initial site surveys we’ll present schools with a wishlist of things they can have and how much they’re likely to cost. Often we’ll do an initial design and come back again the following year to add to it.
Occasionally some mistakes are made. One school we’ve worked with wanted some inspirational quotes on the wall, which is a request we get quite often. Our usual approach is to print them on vinyl, cut them out and apply them directly.
The school told us where they wanted them – fairly low down – and we pointed out that the letters had edges to them. Where there’s an edge that people can pick at, that’s what they’ll do. The school maintained that it was a well-monitored corridor, and that their kids simply wouldn’t do that. Some of those letters were off the walls before our guys got home!
Noel Palmer is the Managing Director of Palmer Publicity Services.