Campus Signage Policy


This policy provides general guidelines for signage on the MSU campus. The purpose is to:

  1. provide clear, concise information for all users, to improve way-finding,
  2. promote public health, safety and welfare,
  3. promote a unified and attractive sign appearance for all facilities,
  4. minimize maintenance and repairs of the buildings, and
  5. eliminate inconsistent, ineffective, and unnecessary signs.

This policy supersedes all other sign policies; refer to the Advertising, Distribution, and Solicitation Policy for other specialized signs not covered in this policy. All signage issues not specifically addressed by this or other University policies are to be referred to the Planning, Design & Construction Office.


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADAAG)
Unless otherwise stated, all public signage at MSU must comply with the federal regulations of ADA.

Accessible Path of Travel
That portion of the building circulation which allows access to building areas by all persons, regardless of disability, including wheel chair users.

Building Circulation
Spaces designated for people to travel within a building; lobbies, corridors, exit doors, stairs and elevators.

Life Safety
Any device or building element specifically designed to warn or protect the occupants of a building, or to allow the occupants to safely exit the building.

Any part of the heating & cooling, plumbing and electrical systems that are part of the building.

Public Area
Any part of the building generally accessible to all occupants of the building.

A college, school or department.


A. ADA Sign Mounting and Location Height

ADAAG 4.30.6 states: "Where permanent identification is provided for rooms and spaces, signs shall be installed on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door. Where there is no wall space to the latch side of the door, including at double leaf doors, signs shall be placed on the nearest adjacent wall. Mounting height shall be 60 in (1525 mm) above the finish floor to the centerline of the sign. Mounting location for such signage shall be so that a person may approach within 3 in. (76 mm) of signage without encountering protruding objects or standing within the swing of a door."

See SGN1, Figures A-M, for typical mounting locations.


Where Braille is called for, provide Type II in a single line beneath the sign text.


No signs are placed on doors except for the following conditions:

  1. Glass doors may have vinyl lettering applied to the glass when sufficient space is not available on adjacent glass or wall, or where preferred.
  2. Exterior glass doors will have a 4”x4” accessible route decal if a powered opener is provided.
  3. A Concealed Weapons Restriction decal may be applied to designated exterior doors.
Electronic Card Readers (including surface-mounted raceways)

They are to be mounted outside of the designated sign area. Coordinate location with the Planning, Design & Construction Office prior to installation.

B. Sign Content

Department-specific signs will be approved by the department head prior to submission to the Planning, Design & Construction Office. All content is subject to University policy.

C. Sign Design

For any design or placement issues not specifically covered by this policy, consult with the Planning, Design & Construction Office.

D. Sign Installation

All signs, with the exception of temporary ones, are to be installed and removed by the MSU Physical Plant only. To arrange for installation of signs, contact the Work Management Center (836-8400).

Standard Interior Sign Locations
  1. Locate the sign on the latch side of the door– same wall as the door, 2” from the doorframe. On doors with two unequal leaves, the sign is located on the latch side of the main leaf.
  2. When the sign will not fit next to the latch side of door (located in an alcove), move the sign out to the nearest corridor wall, 2” from the corner.
  3. Grip-A-Strip bars may be located beneath the room sign to be utilized for the purpose of posting notices pertaining to that room.
  4. When two or more doors are located in close proximity, combine signs if possible and center them between doors, or locate each sign closest to the corresponding door – 2” from the frame on the latch or hinge side.
  5. When new signage is installed in locations with existing non-standard or duplicate signage, removal of old signage and repair and/or refinishing of building surfaces shall be included in the project.
  6. When the sign will not fit near the corresponding door in the above configurations, contact the Planning, Design & Construction Office.
E. Temporary Signs/Displays

Temporary signs shall not be used in place of standard signage. No surface-damaging adhesives (e.g. duct tape) or surface-penetrating fasteners are to be used to display temporary displays of any kind.Upon the posting of temporary signs, ensure permanent signs and ventilation grilles are not obstructed.

F. Wall Graphics

No graphics or lettering are to be applied to a building surface except as part of the original or remodeled building design administered through the Planning, Design & Construction Office. To ensure proper scale, location, and general compatibility with the building décor, any interior wall graphic must be approved prior to its application on a building surface. This will be executed by using a Project Request Form (found under Planning, Design & Construction – Forms on the MSU website) via the respective department head, dean/director, and vice president.

G. Building Surface Artwork

Due to concerns regarding general building maintenance, acceptability of the artwork proposed, and the need to have some control over modifications to state property, proposed artwork must be approved in advance using a memorandum to be submitted via the respective department head, dean/director, and vice president to the Public Art Committee. The memorandum will include the location and a description of the proposed surface, the general concept of the work, the proposed schedule, a general description of how the work will be executed, how it will be maintained, how long it will remain in place, and who will be responsible for its removal.

H. Exterior Building Identification
  1. Building name is surface-mounted, dark bronze colored or contrasting color, free standing letters, height: 6" or height appropriate to the scale of the building. Letters are mounted with a ½" standoff from the building surface. Consult the Planning, Design & Construction Office for proper placement. See Figure 1.1
  2. Building street number shall face the main street or pedestrian way frontage; it will be surface mounted, 4" high or appropriate to the scale of the building, matching the characteristics of the building name sign. Consult the Planning, Design & Construction Office for proper placement. See Figure 1.2
  3. Accessible entrance(s) to the building are indicated by a 4"x4", blue & white accessible route sticker on the latch side of the upper corner of the door glass. See Figure 1.3
  4. Building Information for those buildings with unique information may be posted with an exterior display cabinet as illustrated in Figure 1.4. Approval for use of such a display must be granted by the Facilities Management Director and design approved by the Planning, Design & Construction Office.
  5. Other signs are permitted on the exterior of the building, only with prior approval from the Facilities Management Director.
I. Building Entry
  1. Building Directories:
    Are used to display the names of people and units, located in the building where it is mounted. They are to be mounted within view of the building's main entry doors. The content of the directories shall be organized with an alphabetical listing of last names, followed by first, then title if desired, and then corresponding room numbers. The directory cabinet is to complement the building architecture or to be an electronic directory as approved by the Planning, Design & Construction Office. See Figure 2.1.
  2. Unit Directories (optional):
    Are used to display information about a specific unit or units that are located in that building and/or any other university building. The content of these directories shall include: the unit name, the unit hierarchy, and an alphabetical listing of the principal contacts within the unit; the contacts will be organized with last names followed by first, then title if desired, and then corresponding room numbers. The unit cabinet is to complement the building architecture or to be an electronic directory as approved by the Planning, Design & Construction Office. See Figure 2.1.
  3. Combining Building & Unit Directories:
    Building & Unit Directories may be combined when ease of information exchange is beneficial. When combining directories, units outside the respective building are to be listed in a separate and subordinate section of the display. These units are only to be listed in detail if the dean is housed within that building; otherwise, only the name of the unit and the respective head are to be listed.
  4. Building Plan:
    A plan is to be mounted near each group of public entry doors, and in circulation lobbies. It consists of a simplified building floor plan graphically indicating the major circulation routes, accessible path of travel, toilet locations, building directory location, major spaces, tornado shelter location, telephone locations and present location. The map is sized, as required to convey information clearly. See Figure 2.2. The Building Plan is to be in accordance with the Planning, Design & Construction Office specifications and is to be ordered via the Work Management Center.
  5. No Tobacco Sign:
    Is part of the Building Plan Sign. See Figure 2.2.
  6. Concealed Weapons Restriction Notices:
    Authorized by Missouri Revised Statute Section 571.107, will be posted on exterior doors as directed by the Safety & Transportation Department. The notices will be posted on the appropriate exterior door window glass at a location centered as close to 60" above the floor as possible, positioned on the latch side of the door glass, and about 1" from the glass frame when possible.
J. Building Circulation
  1. Overhead Directional signs:
    Are to be used only when standard signs are deemed not effective by the Planning, Design & Construction Office. They indicate department or agency locations and major groups of room numbers. Locations are at entrance lobbies and corridor intersections only when these destinations are not readily visible from the approach path. Overhead signs will be centered between corridor walls and should be hung at a minimum of 96" above the floor surface. Signs are composed of horizontal strips with block lettering accompanied by an arrow on one end of the strip. Overhead signs may not block emergency exit signs, fire sprinkler heads or any other mechanical, lighting or life-safety features. See Figure 3.1.
  2. Enclosed Stairs & Elevator signs:
    Are to be pictogram, word and Braille. Stairs that are not designated exit/fire stairs shall only have a sign listing the rooms they lead to. See Figure 3.2.
K. Room Identification
  1. Rest room signs:
    Consist of a pictogram, word and Braille. See Figure 4.1
  2. Room number signs:
    Have the following information: Room number and room description with Braille below each. At classrooms and offices only, a "Grip-a-Strip" may be positioned directly below the room number sign for changing information when space allows. See Figure 4.2
  3. Department office signs:
    Where the entrance is primarily glass and inadequate wall space is available, 2" or smaller vinyl reverse die-cut letters are applied to the back side of the glass, centered as close to 60" above the floor surface as possible, and positioned not less than 2" from the glass frame. Vinyl color is appropriate to background conditions and is evaluated by the Planning, Design & Construction Office. Lettering is justified to the latch side of the door. A clear Braille-only sign is applied to the front of the glass under the reverse lettering at 2" from the latch side of the door. Vinyl letters on wire glass may be applied on the front side so long as maintenance is not an issue. See Figure 4.3.
L. Room Regulations
  1. No Food or Drink (except Water):
    Food and drink are prohibited in all classrooms; due to many individuals' need for body hydration, water will be allowed. Signs consist of a pictogram and words with Braille. The sign should be posted inside the room in a prominent location. See Figure 5.1.
  2. The Seating Capacity sign:
    Includes the message "Seating Capacity" above the number for the allowed capacity. The sign is posted in the room near a main exit door; the sign is to be located by the Planning, Design & Construction Office. See Figure 5.2.
M. Bulletin Boards & Display Cases
  1. The use of Bulletin boards is governed by the MSU Advertising, Distribution and Solicitation Policy (Revised by the Board of Governors on November 15, 2002).
  2. Prior to ordering bulletin boards or display cases approval of the size, type and mounting location is required from the Planning, Design & Construction Office. The Facilities Maintenance will coordinate this approval upon receipt of a work request to make this installation.
  3. Bulletin boards or display cases once mounted in a building are considered part of the building and may not be removed except by the Facilities Maintenance, with the approval of the Planning, Design & Construction Office.
N. Easels & Sandwich Boards

Easels, sandwich boards, or any other free-standing signs are not to replace permanent signage. They may however be used under the following stipulations:

  1. In public circulation areas and in unit office areas so long as approved by the authorized unit.
  2. They may not obstruct required public circulation, or any permanent signs, mechanical, lighting or life-safety features.
  3. Content must comply with all applicable University policies.
O. Hazard & Warning Signs

Hazard and warning sign locations are as prescribed by government regulations including D.O.T. and O.S.H.A. Consult with the MSU Department of Environmental Management to determine requirements for these signs as they pertain to materials in your area. Signs must be permanent and mounted no closer than 2" from any doorframe or other sign unless prescribed otherwise by government regulation.

P. Tornado Shelter Signs
  1. Tornado shelter locations are to be designated by the Safety & Transportation Office.
  2. All tornado shelter signs shall be permanently placed and located as determined by the Planning, Design & Construction Office. See Figure 6.1
Q. Donation
  1. MSU recognizes the generosity of its financial donors with donation plaques. All donation plaque design and placement will be coordinated through the Design & Construction Office to ensure a unified appearance that is appropriate to the space displayed.
  2. The Planning, Design & Construction Office will coordinate with the Development Office regarding any specific requirements associated with the donation.