If your industrial location allows members of the public or if your commercial location is often bustling with visitors or tourists, consider the benefits of floor marking tape and signs, posters, and projected graphics to improve overall facility safety. Not only do visual cues help reduce accidents and injuries, they communicate clear expectations for better overall experiences. Explore what types of cues may be useful in your location, how to choose the right visuals for your needs, and in which areas to include signage.

How Visual Communication Keeps Visitors Safe

Visual cues are important because they are easily understood by a wider range of people than text-based instructions are—including by children who can’t read and visitors who speak a different primary language. Graphics and color cues are easy to understand at a glance and can reduce reaction time. Similarly, clear communication of expectations and requirements can help visitors feel more comfortable in new places, leading to a better overall experience and less frustration—valuable whether you’re welcoming people to shop or providing a service.

Floor Marking Tip – When planning your floor markings, ensure you’re providing enough information, without overwhelming visitors with unnecessary details. Similarly, all floor markings should be easy to read: Consider floor marking quality, graphic and text size, visibility (including tape or sign colors and text or graphic contrast), visual cue placement, and messaging accuracy.

Types of Visual Cues for Public Spaces

Visual cues are important in public spaces and industrial locations, but you must consider carefully the types of signage you’ll use. When choosing between floor marking options, your ideal visual cues will depend on the message you’re communicating and the surfaces where you’ll apply your tape or signs.

  • Solid-color, hazard striped, or checkered lines are ideal for marking aisles, lines to follow, or bringing attention to areas where hazards may be present—such as changes in elevation, slippery areas, or spaces where distance must be kept between visitors and equipment or other people.
  • Custom text and repeating message floor tape provide the same message with or without graphics, printed continually—useful for cutting and applying multiple instances of the same warning or in longer stretches, depending on your location’s need.
  • Floor signs with text and/or graphics help customers and visitors know where to stand, which areas to keep clear, and what to expect in any given location. These signs may be more detailed than taped lines alone.
  • Taped lines can be paired with text and graphic signs to provide clear instructions or health and safety messaging.
  • Pre-cut kits, ideal for industrial locations, may also suitably communicate expectations and requirements in schools, malls, and other public spaces, including indicating designated first aid or other health and safety stations or areas where trash cans, recycling bins, or borrowed carts must be returned.
  • Virtual lines and signs are ideal in areas where floor markings won’t adhere properly, such as outdoor concert venues or gathering spaces with unfinished floors.

Five Important Areas to Use Visual Cues

While visual cues should be implemented in any area where there is an identified or potential hazard, use- or location-specific marking types and application locations provide the most benefit. Examine your location to determine where pedestrians are safest, locations where directions are unclear, and potential hazards that could be avoided with clear messaging.

Visual Cue Planning Tip – To determine the ideal type and placement for floor markings and signage, use a combination of required safety standards, visitor and employee surveys, third-party audits, and A/B testing, including test applications using floor tape samples.

Directional Cues for Navigation

From labeling department doorways to providing color-coded lines leading to corresponding destinations, directional cues help visitors find their way while keeping them out of harm’s way. Consider adhesive-backed footprints or arrows that provide clear guidance. Colorful signs with playful images can be used in kids’ areas to make a game out of simply finding the right place. The best floor markings are the ones that keep visitors on the right track and prevent them from wandering into a loading area or other dangerous part of the facility.

Important Safety Messaging and Quick Instructions

All required markings should be thoroughly researched prior to implementing a floor marking plan. Some signs are required under fire code regulations—labeling storage areas or doorways that lead to a dead-end with “Not an Exit” signage, ensuring exit doors are clearly marked, and egress includes directional markings for the emergency exit location, to name a few. 

From reminders to keep required forms or documentation handy to notes regarding personal safety gear—face masks, hearing protection, eye protection, helmets, and specific footwear included—instructional floor markings ensure processes run smoothly. “Do Not Enter” or “Restricted Area” signage lets visitors know which areas are closed except to authorized individuals.

Queue Signage

In public areas where people must wait in line, floor signage is both helpful for visitors—and a useful advertising tool, where applicable. Prepare visitors for the next steps with signs and floor marking tape that let them know what to expect, from expected wait times to recommended personal distance requirements for health and safety. 

Double-Duty Floor Markings

Similarly, floor markings and signs can reduce slips, collisions, or other accidents. In areas with heavy traffic, pedestrian signage paired with physical barriers can keep visitors and vehicles apart. Slip-resistant floor markings in various colors—and glow-in-the-dark options—can be applied to potentially slippery floors, where there are changes in elevation, or on stairway edges for better traction, reducing slips, trips, or falls in public walkways or stairwells.

Public areas and gathering spaces are made safer with clear visual cues. Create your visual communication plan, apply appropriate floor marking tape and signage, and see how it helps visitors navigate better and stay safer. For more floor marking tape tips and advice, explore our Resource Center.