The General Services Administration (GSA) is a government agency established in 1949 that was tasked with managing government buildings and real estate. It provides product and service procurement support and develops policies and regulations.

Signage guidelines were developed under GSA’s First Impressions Program in order to shape a visitor’s first impression of the federal government. GSA signs have certain criteria set forth by the GSA, as well as benefits compared to other types of signs.

Criteria for New GSA Signs

GSA developed design criteria for new signage by working with an architectural firm. Here are those criteria:

  • 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

The final design should create a strong, branded image, as well as maintain the goals of being timeless, federal, classic, and dignified. These criteria go for traditional GSA signs, GSA LED sign design, and more.

Advantages of GSA Signs

GSA works with its customer agencies to replace any old traditional and electronic signs with new signs that can be fabricated quickly, using the 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

Nearly 71% of people report that they often look at the messages on a roadside billboard, whether it’s traditional or digital signage. The federal government sets high standards for their signs for many reasons. Clear and consistent signs welcome a visitor to the building, reduce their anxiety as they pass through security, and help them find the tenant they’re visiting as well as other services in the building.

Each building has its own look, architecture, materials, tenant mix, and traffic flow, that all come together to create a unique space. The GSA sign must reflect that space accurately and complementary to its unique environment. That’s why these standards have been put in place.