Signs Vs Signage What Is the Difference?


Signs and signage can be used in many businesses or workplaces.  The word signage was first used around 1976.  Signage is the use of signs mainly for marketing reasons, such as signs in shops that will give the customer a clear message for which it is intended.  Signs can include road signs, pictures, symbols etc.

We see signage every single day.  Whether you are driving down the road or walking along a high street you will always see signs.  Signage can be used for a many purposes in our lives.  Signs are used for advertising, marketing, to entice customers, to keep people safe, wayfinding and directional signs, health and safety signs and more!

Signage Vs Signs

Signage refers to the way the overall message is conveyed to us.  Such as arrows, words, symbols etc.  Sign refers to the actual display of the sign.  A sign showing an exit for example the actual sign is known as ‘sign’.  The words EXIT on the sign are known as the signage of it.

Roller Banners

According to Jamie from Dock Street Signs “Some examples of signs can be roller banners which are a great addition to your business.  These can be used for many different events, such as networking events, shows or you can keep it in your place of business.”  The actual roller banner would be known as the sign.  The wording and branding etc on it would be known as the signage.

Shop Signs

A shop sign which shows you what the shop is called that you are going into, is known just that as a sign.  The branding and the words on the sign are the signage of the shop.

Directional Signs

Most signs are used to let you know what to do. These can also be known as wayfinding signs or directional signs.  They will help you navigate from space to space easily within a building or sometimes they are used outside too.  Whether that is to guide you around a business, show you were the exit is, where the toilets are etc.  So, signs are extremely important no matter what business you own.  

Safety Signs

Safety signs are very important.  Whether that is in a business place of a hospital, school, gym etc.  These need to be especially clear and concise to the person that is reading them.  They need to stand out and be easily accessible.

A sign is a ‘thing’ that will contain information whereas the signage will define the transmission of the information.  Another example is seeing a billboard on a motorway for a restaurant at different miles, 25 miles, 10 miles, 5 miles etc.  The billboards are the signs, and the use of the signs is the signage.

There is no real definition in industry terms of signs or signage.  A collection of signs can be referred to signage.  But you can also refer to a shop signage as just that or their shop sign.  You can almost always use the word signs instead of signage, but you cannot always use the word signage instead of using the word signs.  


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