What’s In a Sign

October 31, 2012 at 1:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The debate over the signage on the new LPS building is very interesting. It sheds some interesting light on how LPS sees itself; how they think the public sees them; how they want the public to see them; and the overall approach to openness in our local schools.

The basic issue is this: the new LPS office building needs some sort of signage. “Too much” signage would draw the public eye and (allegedly) invite scrutiny over things like the size of the office building and the number of people (read: amount of red tape) inside. Too little signage will make it harder for people to identify the correct building, especially after Whole Foods and company open up nearby. The result of that conundrum is a host of signage possibilities, from 36-inch tall letters spelling out LINCOLN PUBLIC SCHOOLS DISTRICT OFFICES” on the O Street side to simple, smaller signage over the front door.

Although I understand the District’s fear of appearing bloated, any solution that deliberately obfuscates the nature of what goes on inside the building is irresponsible, and arguably even a little bit dangerous. LPS has always insisted that they have just the right amount of administration. If that’s true, what’s to hide? And certainly our local schools, as a public institution and caretakers of our children, ought to emphasize openness and transparency. They should be inviting the public in rather than trying to hide in plain sight.

If LPS is truly concerned about the public’s perception of the new building and the administrative activities within, they’ve already lost. This signage discussion will only serve to prove to detractors that the District is trying to hide something. The School Board oughtn’t be making its decisions to satisfy its most petty critics anyway. There are real, substantive issues to resolve.

Ultimately I’m a fan of “LINCOLN PUBLIC SCHOOLS” in reasonably large letters on the O Street side, and smaller signage near the front door. I don’t care for the idea, championed by Kevin Keller, of adding “DISTRICT OFFICES”. It’s redundant and potentially gaudy, unless those words are much smaller. But kudos to Mr. Keller for wanting more information rather than less.

What’s your take on the signage debate?

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The Comments

Seth October 31, 2012 at 2:57pm

I prefer Keller’s signage idea on 2 small brick monuments.  Twenty years of kids at LPS and I went to this office once.

Fletch October 31, 2012 at 3:41pm

I agree with Mr. Wilson. I like the the LINCOLN PUBLIC SCHOOLS on the O Street Side, shifted to the side of the building. Adding “District Offices” is uesless, and a big waste of money. No one will confuse it for a school. The name says it all.

I would also implore the powers that be to drive to the intersection of 40th and Pine Lake Road to observe the buildings. On the NE corner, you have Ritchie Bros (I think), where the sign is well done, porportionate to the size of the area of the buidling it’s on, and it looks nice and clean and perfect.

On the SW corner, you have the abomination that is the signage on the Bryan LGH building. The lettering is AWFUL in multiple ways. 1) It’s too large and doesn’t look right on the building. 2) The kerning is WAY off, and doesn’t even resember their logo. I cringe and my eyes nearly bleed each time I see it.

I pray that with the name change at Bryan, that they will replace the sign and do better this time.

Mr. Wilson October 31, 2012 at 4:17pm

I’m glad you brought up the Bryan building. That signage is among the worst in Lincoln. And you’re right, the contrast with the Ritchie Bros. building is incredible. The latter is so tasteful yet distinct and immediately recognizable; the former is an abomination.

Jeff R November 1, 2012 at 5:10pm



Now every time I drive by I’m going to see that.  It’s like they put spacing in there just for the sake of making it fit the entire width of the building.  Awful.

Mr. Wilson November 1, 2012 at 5:43pm

I assume you it’s even worse in person.

George November 1, 2012 at 8:14pm

It was nice to meet you last night Mr. Wilson.

Mr. Wilson November 1, 2012 at 8:29pm

Likewise! You just HAD to catch me mid-Heoya though, didn’t you? grin

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