Exterior Signage

Image of Exterior building signNew exterior signs are being installed at various locations in the National Capital Region marking entrances and corners of buildings owned by GSA. Signs include a URL for a web-based application, with new web content that contains wayfinding, history, art, and architectural information has been designed to be integrally connected to the signs. This will provide unprecedented access to buildings not otherwise available to the public.

Signage guidelines were developed under GSA’s First Impressions Program. The First Impressions Program spotlights lobbies and plazas yet may extend to other public areas—including signs—that shape a visitor’s “First Impression” of the federal government.

GSA’s exterior signage program will replace the existing brown "ribbon" and the blue "post-and-panel" signs.

Explore our Visiting Public Buildings website where we share information about our federal buildings.

Criteria Developed for New Signage

Working with an architectural design firm, GSA developed design criteria for the new signage:

  • Importance of the “Federal Look”
  • Use of color as a unifying design element
  • Use of sign shapes as a unifying design element
  • Importance of message hierarchy

Our final design creates a strong branded image and maintains the goals of being dignified, federal, classic, and timeless.

Messaging Rationale

If someone is looking for a particular building, by searching for the name of the building—whether on their smart device, on the internet prior to arriving, they will be:

  • Directed to the main address
  • Directed to the main and/or accessible entrance.

The intent is to identify the address as the name of the building versus indicating the current location of the visitor. Finally, a visitor can seek more building information by inputting a URL that is printed on the sign into their smart device.

Deliver Better Value & Savings

Working with its customer agencies, GSA will assist in replacing the old signs by providing signage that can be fabricated quickly, using our pre-approved design. Other advantages include:

  • Unified design concept saves money by removing the need to design new signs for each customer.
  • Signage is designed to be replaceable components
  • Web content provides a free platform for tenant agencies to share information about their mission with the public and link to their website, events, and initiatives.
  • Dual mobile and desktop versions provide an ease of use
  • Low cost method to distribute information
  • Allows the American public to explore federal buildings closed due to security
  • Presenting a unified federal signage with a timeless aesthetic.

Last Reviewed: 2020-09-14