As warmer weather approaches, the time to start planning for road races is upon us. The amount of planning and decision-making for the execution of an event can seem daunting, but we are here to help.
Our Road Race Signage Planning Guide is built on years of experience planning and executing signage for countless road races ranging from local 5Ks to world-class events like the Boston Marathon. This handy guide outlines every area of your event with ideas for both operational and sponsor signage that will help your event run smoothly and be a success.
The signage experts at AMI have nearly two decades of experience working with race directors for running events of all sizes. With their help, we put together some helpful tips to consider when planning your next race. With our Road Race Signage Planning guide and these helpful tips, you can hit the ground running this road-race season!
Set a Schedule
Once the date of the event is known, start working backwards from that day and mark key dates. Determine deadlines for shipment of event signage, design, and more. This allows you to allot time for design, deliveries, production, and more. Setting a schedule also provides a means to measure whether your event is on schedule at any given time. Because there is a clear picture of how the event is progressing, unforeseen obstacles can be dealt with by adjusting aspects of the event to meet deadlines.
Planning is certainly integral to the success of any large event. However, road races accommodate a variety of stakeholders, which makes planning even more important. Whether it’s the runners themselves, the fans cheering them on, or the sponsors, taking time to plan your event will help make your event a success for all parties involved.
The early stages of planning should include site inspections to understand the course and to take key measurements. Site inspections will help determine the scope of the signage needs. Ask questions like:
- Will crowds require wayfinding signage to find particular areas?
- Will registration and information booths be easy to find for visitors or will they require specific signage?
Site inspections should lead to inquiries about local regulations that will affect sign heights, road closures, and more. It’s important to understand all of these aspects of the course before production of the event materials begins to eliminate ordering unusable signage.
Around this time is when branding meetings should be held as well to determine which sponsors will be featured and where sponsor signage will be placed. Once site inspections and branding meetings are completed, the signage locations can be planned and production can begin.
Keep Signage Consistent
Consistent signage design is important to eliminate confusion and strengthen branding. Additionally, uniform signage will enhance the visual appeal of your event.
A consistent logo, color scheme, or message is necessary for a brand to resonate with visitors. Keeping signage consistent puts forth a universal branding image, makes signage design and production more straightforward, and makes graphics easy to reuse each year.
For functional signage, consistency helps to eliminate confusion. If the course requires wayfinding signs, keeping them all in the same style makes them more recognizable and effective to visitors who are making their way around the event.
The only thing that can make poor weather on the day of race worse is not being prepared for it. Plan for bad weather and choose materials for your signage that can withstand inclement weather and function properly on the day of the race. For this purpose, we recommend choosing durable materials that will not only last throughout the race, but will be able to be reused for future events. Signage that may get wet should be made from a weatherproof material like vinyl. Larger banners or banners located in high-wind areas should be made from mesh material to reduce the wind-load on the banner and prevent damage to the banner itself or structure it is fastened to. One of our signage experts would be happy to work with you to determine the best material for your location.
Incorporate Strategic Sponsorships
While planning your event, identify sponsors that are seeking more visibility. Sponsors that want prime sponsor locations can be helpful to minimize overall costs to you. Perhaps you are considering using overhead truss systems for the start and/or finish line. Since starting lines and finish lines are prime sponsor signage space, featuring a sponsor on the truss can help reduce the cost of renting or buying the truss itself. This same strategy can also help reduce costs for fencing, trusses, and more at your event.
These are just some of the road race tips from our signage experts who have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to road race planning. They are always happy to take on any challenge to determine the proper signage solution for any application. As you start the planning for the 2020 season, please reach out with any questions, we would love to help!