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Sign of the times


We all recognise and know the ‘running man’ of course (although he is not supposed to be running), as the image that represents an emergency exit. It is a legal requirement in fact for all non-domestic buildings and spaces to have signage like this guiding occupants and users to safety in an emergency.

What we are less likely to know is that this, the latest incarnation of the running man, was designed by a Japanese gentleman, Yukio Ota in the late 70’s as a response to a competition to promote safety and evacuation techniques. It was later adopted by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) in 1985 becoming the well-known illustration that it is today.

So, this design has been in use in the UK for nearly 50 years. Where were buildings 50 years ago and how have the built and working environments changed over this time? As a simple example, at the time this signage was invented the tallest building in the world was The Sears (Willis) Tower in Chicago at 443m or 1,450 feet with 110 stories.

Today, the world’s tallest building is the Burj Kalifa in Dubai. At 828m or 2,716 feet in height, it is nearly twice as tall as The Sears Tower.

Is traditional, conventional, static signage still the most effective solution? It was, after all, a sign designed for that time. The industry could not have anticipated the speed of development in the modern world.

However, dynamic exit signage has been designed for today’s buildings and environments. It has been developed using the very latest technology and micro-simulation modelling that was simply not available in the 1970’s. This all means that this modern solution is over twice as effective as the equivalent, conventional signage today.

If you want to maximise the safety of your working or living environment then bring it up to date with Evaclite dynamic and adaptive emergency exit signage.