All Signs Point to Success: Announcing a Student Contest to Reinvent the Libraries’ Directional Signage

The Baylor Libraries welcome students  to participate in a unique new project to create freestanding directional signage towers for Moody Memorial Library and Jesse H. Jones Library. The goal of the program is to create informative, eye-catching signs that will direct patrons to various locations around the Central Libraries campus.

Project Background

As part of our campaign to upgrade the directional signage of the Central Libraries, we wanted to give our students a chance to participate in the process of making finding what our patrons are looking for easier and more stylish. So, we partnered with Baylor’s Sustainability initiatives and the Libraries’ Makerspace to create an opportunity for Baylor’s artists, craftspeople and tinkerers to create some new directional signage towers using upcycled, recycled or “found” materials.

The inspiration behind the project came from these signs made by Studio Dumbar. The simple, striking towers are both attention-grabbing and subtle, conveying basic direction information in a clean, easy-to-read format.

Image of Studio Dumbar product via Retail Design Blog. (

These signage towers inspired us to look at creating similar signs for Moody and Jones. Using recycled materials and giving students oversight of the process seemed like relevant, important ways to connect with our patrons in a new and unexpected way, and using the tools available in the Makerspace was a great way to spread the word about this exciting new service.

The completed signs will stand in the elevator lobbies of the Central Libraries, replacing the flat, acrylic signs seen here.

Students of any major and grade level are invited to submit applications to create one of the new towers, basing their designs on the guidelines below.

Project Guidelines and Specifications

The proposed designs must meet the following guidelines:

Signs must be made of at least 50% recycled content
In line with Baylor’s mission to encourage judicious stewardship at all levels of the university, the Libraries request that the materials used to construct the signage towers contain at least 50% found, upcycled or recycled content. Using the Libraries’ connections with campus sustainability partners, designers will be given access to this post-consumer content as it is available.

Creators must make use of tools offered in the Libraries’ Makerspace or Maker’s Edge
The Libraries’ Makerspace offers tools for faculty, staff and students that can be used to support their prototyping, early production and testing needs. In addition, Baylor Libraries’ partnership with Waco’s Maker’s Edge allows students to make use of the tools available in their facility as well. Winning applicants will be required to make use of the tools, technology and support available in the Makerspace and/or Maker’s Edge. The project need not be completed entirely in the Makerspace or Maker’s Edge, but a significant portion of the project should include content created in the space.

Must contain specified text provided by library
The Baylor Libraries Marketing & Communications team will provide required text for application on the signage towers. Designers will have control over certain text-based elements including font, weight, layout and color.

Must fit within specific measurements
The signage towers should fit the following dimensions:

  • Width of no less than 18 inches and no more than 24 inches
  • Height of no less than 62 inches and no more than 70 inches
  • Base dimensions of no more than 20 inches x 20 inches square

Must offer three specific “zones” for different types of information
Each tower must be designed to accommodate three “zones” for information. They are 1.) welcome verbiage (provided by Libraries), 2.) permanent directional text (provided by Libraries) and 3.) flexible space for easily updatable signage, such as flyers printed on paper up to 11″x 17″. The schematic below offers a rough sketch of the layout for these zones.











Members of the Libraries’ staff will work closely with the chosen designer(s) to ensure both artistic freedom and clarity of messaging are the end results of the completed project.

A total of six signage towers are requested for this project. Depending on the level of interest, students may be asked to create one or multiple towers.

Ideally, we would like to see the towers completed and installed by the conclusion of the Fall 2018 semester.

Students chosen to produce their designs will be provided with raw materials (as available), access to the Makerspace and assistance from Makerspace staff. Finished products will include the maker’s information – name, contact info (if desired) and link to online portfolio – to encourage contact from patrons interested in hiring the maker for future work.

Submit Your Ideas!

Interested students may submit a letter of interest to Letter should include your basic contact information (email and phone number) as well as a rough sketch or design rationale for your design. Winning entries will be selected by a panel of faculty and staff from the University Libraries.

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