Pointing in the right direction

The DSM brand offline

The importance of signage

Signage is incredibly important – not just to our brand, but to our business.

First and foremost, it fulfils the practical function of guiding people to a DSM facility and once there, to help them (and us!) find their way around.

It also represents one of the biggest and boldest representations of our visual identity. It has the power to amplify the essence of our Bright Science. Brighter Living. brand promise - and provides real stopping power for the DSM brand.

Signage takes on an entirely new meaning in the digital age by giving us the opportunity to literally bring our brand alive. Just look at the digital signage now often seen in big cities (and especially from large retailers) that display information, videos, and all other kinds of interactive content.

This type of signage can boost our brand, improve internal communication, and even raise employee morale. It’s a big world out there and great signage can really help us make our mark. So, how can we make the most of this opportunity?

Our signage family

Giving you what you need

Our signage is based on a single, consistent design that you can create in various sizes and dimensions depending on your needs. This also includes the potential to add illumination, depending on your location and budget.

There are two main types of signage: exterior and interior. Pretty self-explanatory, but for the record, exterior signage helps people to find our facilities – as well as providing valuable brand presence. Interior signage is more about helping people find their way around once inside our sites – because after all, we do have some big facilities…

Exterior signage

Exterior signage not only displays our brand to the world, it helps people to (literally) find us.

  1. High Level Sign (HLS): the main identifier sign so big and bold.
  2. Site marker: helps visitors find the entrance.
  3. Entrance statement: the name of the facility
  4. Company wall: alternative for a particular building or facility.
  5. Directions: enable visitors to find their way around the facility.
  6. Parking sign: where to put the car!
  7. Flags and banners: an additional identifier and nice branding tool.
  8. Wall sign: directs visitors and shows the specific name of buildings.
  9. Door sign: these identify specific departments and people.
  10. SHE monitor: provides important safety information.
  11. Information sign: delivers specific, important details about the facility.

Exterior signage examples

The High Level Sign

This is our big identifier, helping people to find a DSM location day and night.

We always use the DSM Simplified Logo for the High Level Sign (and indeed all exterior signage). Depending on the size of your location – and its prominence (eg, can you see the facility easily from the road?), you can use illuminated signing for visiblility at night.

The High Level Sign can be mounted on either the roof or at the highest safe point on the wall - and it must always conform with the requirements in the High Level Sign size, proportions and positioning guide.

Please remember that you’ll need a permit, which is covered in our six easy steps here.

Interior signage

The advent of digital (wall) signage – and its ability to deliver dynamic, detailed information - has the potential to transform the way everyone inside DSM engages with our brand, and each other.

In fact, according to a study by McKinsey, the use of social technologies to improve internal communications could increase employee productivity by as much as 25%.

Here at DSM we have five main types of interior signage:

  1. Reception sign: which tells people… they’ve reached the reception!
  2. Brand wall (traditional): a great way to communicate information more dynamically.
  3. Wall-mounted poster element: for employee campaigns and information.
  4. Internal wayfinding without device at the bottom: so our employees don’t get lost.
  5. Door signs without device at the bottom: so our people know… what’s behind the door.

The value of interior signage

Great interior signage can:

  • Inform – by keeping everyone informed on our news and successes.
  • Motivate – by recognizing individuals, departments or wider company achievements.
  • Promote good health – through tips on diet, exercise and general wellbeing.

Text setting for signage: getting the words right

Whether free-standing or mounted to walls and doors, the key role of internal signage is to deliver clear and concise information – which means getting the language right.

All exterior signs should be displayed in the local language (if not English); with the option of repeating the message in US English italics – separated by a hard return, on a separate line.

For internal signage, we always US English (with the option of adding a second language if English is not understood by most). It’s also important that you get the text right on both exterior and interior directional signage.

This includes:

  • Maximum number of lines allowed.
  • Maximum character count per line (in both first and second language).
  • Spacing between lines.
  • Ensuring proper punctuation – ie, we should always start each line with a capital letter.

Of course, this varies between different signage types (free-standing, door, wall, etc), so for detailed guidance please check the use of language and text guide.

Six easy steps to creating new signage for a location

So how do you go about getting signage produced? Here are the basic steps you need to follow.

  1. Establish what you need based on your location: is the signage for an office (regional, local or shared) or a plant (big, medium, small)? How visible is the site from outside? How many employees work there, and what types of stakeholders visit? Do you need illuminated signage?
  2. Take care managing the project: appoint a project manager and ensure that the site manager is included in the project. Most importantly, always use one of our trusted assigned suppliers (employees only). Let’s not take risks with our valuable brand.
  3. Tour your location and fully scope the types of signage you need and where it needs to be placed by using the Visual Pack – a template that makes the whole process as simple as possible. For an idea of how this is applied to a real-life location download our sample visual pack example.
  4. Remember to pay particular attention to the legislation and permits needed for any High Level Signage, brand wall(s) and other signage elements outside the gate and on site. Make sure you document your findings and recommendations as part of the project scope – and remember to ensure that this is approved by the site manager.
  5. If you need to add or replace individual signs, the easiest thing is to contact our assigned suppliers for your region – and let them do the work for you! 
  6. When installing signage there are, of course, various physical and structural requirements you need to consider – including electrical work. Once again, the best and simplest solution is to invite your local assigned suppliers to conduct a site survey and let the experts handle it.

For full details on suppliers per region, please visit our Assigned Suppliers Sharepoint Portal (employees only). 

Maintenance & repair

Sound preventative maintenance helps our signage last longer. In brief:

  • Room, toilet and internal directional and wayfinding signs need to be cleaned every three years with a water-soap solution.
  • Other interior signs like poster elements and reception signs should ideally be cleaned every two years.
  • Exterior signage elements should be cleaned annually.
  • For preventive maintenance for all other interior and exterior signs you only need focus on replacing the LED light bulbs every 10 years.

Correctional maintenance

If signs are damaged beyond economical repair, you can order a replacement via your local assigned supplier.

If your sign is repairable (for example needing replacement light bulbs, covers or large vinyl parts) you simply need to order spare parts and contact your local supplier to handle the replacement.

Signage family download package

You can find information about the various signage elements and technical information here.

Read more

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    Download brand assets

    DSM brand asset downloads of core visual brand elements, images, video & b-roll, signage and publications.