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Heritage tourism development


Apologetic Signage©


with a sense of humor


Jacqueline L. Evans

Getty Images

Signs play an important part in our everyday lives, but they also play an important role in the development of good heritage tourism profiles which are often overlooked.  Heritage Tourism Development by QUIE© recommends signage in four general categories and each has equal importance:  Directional Signage©, Interpretational Signage©, Progressional Signage© and, finally, Apologetic Signage©.
So let’s talk about Apologetic Signage©


Every community experiences interior renovations, empty storefronts, or rundown buildings that detract from their overall image.  Sometimes these things seem to appear overnight and improvement always seems to take longer than expected. 
A simple technique to correct these situations quickly can be accomplished with Apologetic Signage©. 

























Apologetic Signage© also has the indirect benefits of boosting the morale of local residents and reminding landlords that improvements need to be done.

By placing the same consistent Apologetic Signage© at every site that detracts from your town’s visual image, three things are accomplished:
  • Eyesores are identified and upgraded overnight
  • An element of humor is attributed to the community
  • Landlords are encouraged to take responsibility for the appearance of their property.

Final Note:
The four categories in this Heritage Tourism Development by QUIE Signage Series provide your tourism leaders with more control and create a stronger relationship between visitors and your community.
Each of the four categories of signage should be specific and consistent in design, shape, and color or trim to distinguish them from other county and state signage. 
Heritage tourism signs should be distinctive and of quality construction.  They should be easy to find, easy to see, easy to read, and entertaining communicating a sense of fun and adventure to make your history come alive for tourists.

The Benefit of Apologetic Signage©:

The benefit of this type of signage quickly takes an eyesore to a higher level if it is of excellent quality.   This is where quality, unlike any previous signage we have discussed, is imperative. Imperative because ‘the sign’ is asking for forgiveness and must be first-class.

Turning lemons into lemonade can be a fun, lighthearted endeavor and help to cross market natural resources at the same time.  Signs using a natural resource as a sub-theme can put a smile on everyone’s face because the resource can becomes the subliminal mascot of the tourism profile.

For example:

    • The Wood Duck is native to Bay City, Michigan, and could easily be used as a sub-theme for signage in front of eyesores with wording like:  “Wood Ducks at Work”  This ties the area’s natural resource to its structural resources.
    • Kearney, Nebraska, whose tagline is The Sandhill Crane Capital of the World could easily do the same by creating signage with wording like: “Sandhill Cranes at Work.”

Apologetic Signage© can even be used for sites (buildings, empty lots, etc) where landlords have yet to begin making improvements or with no intentions whatsoever to make such improvements.  Control over the condition of eyesores may not always be possible, but control over how visitors view the sites IS and can be immediate.

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