In 2003 the Task Force on Campus Signage produced a set of proposed guidelines that were approved by the Building and Grounds Committee. The Task Force was brought together to provide a foundation for an overall approach or philosophy of signage and wayfinding for the campus and developed the current Signage and Wayfinding guidelines.

A Signage Philosophy

Most signage will be part of the larger process of wayfinding, in which the reader seeks to get from wherever he or she currently is, to a point where he or she wishes to go. Additional uses of signage unrelated to wayfinding include regulations, recognition (e.g., donors), historical interest and artistic reference. Signage design for the campus should be based on compatibility rather than on rigid uniformity, given the wide variety of architectural style and scale; internal activities; and readers’ objectives. Signage design must take into account the fact that the reading audience is broad and varies in terms of campus familiarity; sense of urgency; origins; purpose; and conditions affecting ability to use various aspects of the wayfinding system.

The beauty of the UNC campus is its trees, vistas and architecture. Ordinary signage, in large quantities, will detract from this beauty; indeed, massive amounts of signage may cause wayfinding to be more difficult. The goal, therefore, is create a wayfinding system that guides the user effectively but minimizes any negative impact on the beauty of the campus. Building or site identification, combined with wayfinding information, is the most efficient method of getting individuals where they want to go. While it is possible to install an almost infinite number of signs pointing this way or that, the combination of various-scale maps with a small number of directional signs can produce efficient wayfinding and avoid cluttering the landscape. Orientation points in known or easily-anticipated locations enhance wayfinding while holding down the number of such points. Examples include: entryways; visitor center(s); map or information kiosks; websites; and standard maps.

The Building and Grounds Committee is charged with the responsibility of advising the Chancellor regarding permanent exterior signage. This authority includes temporary and—to the extent allowed by law—regulatory signage as well, in order to coordinate the overall appearance of the campus. Responsibility for the costs of installing and maintaining signage is specified as part of the policy.