Six Reasons No One Takes Your Office Signs Seriously

Julie Shenkman
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If you're an administrative assistant, it likely falls to you to create office signs every time your boss wants to remind employees about the rules of the department. Unfortunately, many employees ignore these signs, leading to increased tension in the workplace. If you are in charge of creating office signs, avoid making several common mistakes.

Don't make it difficult for people to read your signs, or they'll ignore them entirely. Quirky fonts are fine for party invitations, but they have no place in a professional environment. Stick to standard fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial if you want people to take the content of your office signs seriously.

Office signs should not include several pieces of cutesy clip art. If you really want to add a splash of color to make your signs more noticeable, print the sign on colored paper or add a colorful border. If you make a sign asking people to put their cans and bottles in the recycling bin of the cafeteria, you don't need to add clip-art photos of a can, a bottle and a recycling bin. If you use clip art, there's a good chance people will view it as condescending, or weird at the very least.

Make sure you proofread all of your office signs carefully before posting them. It's hard to take a sign seriously if it has several misplaced commas or spelling errors. You want people to spend time reading the sign and putting the content into use, not criticizing your errors or trying to make sense of what the sign is trying to say. Many people have a hard time proofreading their own work, so don't be afraid to ask a colleague to review each sign you create.

If you want people to pay attention to your office signs, the content has to be relevant. Signs about meeting schedules, department rules or deadlines are okay, but funny pictures and inspirational quotes are not. Keep these items on your bulletin board or cubicle walls, but don't use company resources printing them and hanging them all over the office. The exception is if your supervisor asks you to print out quotes related to departmental goals and objectives.

A good administrative assistant knows when to fight for a cause and when to back off, so choose your battles carefully. Don't post signs related to petty arguments between other people in your office. If you post a sign related to the ongoing battle over which coffee brand should be in the break room, you're only fueling the fire.

Some office signs are absolutely necessary, such as a sign to remind colleagues of an upcoming deadline, but others aren't needed. If you do have to make a sign, use professional fonts and proofread your work carefully. If you produce high-quality office signs with relevant content, people will take your work more seriously.


Photo courtesy of kibsri at



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