Instructions for signs
The signage of the City of Helsinki is based on the elements of the City of Helsinki’s visual identity. The Helsinki framed logo, colours and typography wrap the signage into a visible and integrated part of the Helsinki brand.
The Helsinki framed logo is a highly visible part of the signage, in the first contact area of buildings and places.
The primary function of the Helsinki framed logo is to tell that the building or place is a City of Helsinki property.
Established buildings and places may use their own framed logo as part of the signage, instead of the Helsinki framed logo. Such properties are, among others, Helsinki central library Oodi and Helsinki City Hall.
The typography of City of Helsinki’s signage is based on the typography of the visual identity of the City of Helsinki.
As opposed to the other parts of the visual identity, the signage uses only one typeface Helsinki Grotesk Medium.
In terms of thickness, Helsinki Grotesk Medium is optimal for the signage.
In terms of the City of Helsinki colour palette, black and/or white are the primary colours to be used in the signage. This is to ensure the required resolution and readability.
The materials used in the signage are determined according to the building or the object. The colour of the graphic elements of the signage must be chosen in a way which ensures that the difference between the elements and the background material is sufficient.
Other colours of the City of Helsinki’s colour palette must be used with consideration.
Pictograms for signs
Some examples (by downloading the pictograms package below you will get more symbols)
Pictograms are an important part of the visual appearance of the city of Helsinki. Together with the rest brand identity, they are a part of a well functioning city.
All important destinations are sign posted by using pictograms. Signs are easier to understand when, in addition to the text, the signposts are shown with pictorial symbols. Instead of different language versions, you should use pictograms. The pictograms must be as simple and easy to understand as possible.
If the same sign contains functionally related pictograms, they are placed in the same frame or side by side.
Pictograms for signage, illustration icons and user interface icons
City of Helsinki, in addition to pictograms ❶ also has:
❷ image icons, which can be used for illustrations purposes only in presentations or publications. These can be found at: brand.hel.fi/ikonit and
❸ user interface icons (UI icons) as part of the the Helsinki Design System at https://hds.hel.fi/
❶ Pictograms must be clear, easy understand and accessible on which more information is available for example in Finnish at: https://www.saavutettavuusvaatimukset.fi/tietoa-saavutettavuudesta/
Helsinki ❶ pictograms for signage are based on common international symbols and Helsinki visual brand identity.
❶ Pictograms are used in all signs in the city. Use existing pictograms and standards. Pictograms help get the message across even when one does not know the language. Selection grows continuously and the download files get updated when any new pictograms are finalized.
If you cannot find a ready made pictogram for the purpose you need then one can be created. When creating new pictograms follow industry standards and make them understandable (accessible) and follow city guidelines.
For the City of Helsinki and Adobe Illustrator pictogram template has been created which has pre-set guidelines.
❶ Examples of pictograms and how they are named
NOTE! Use an underscore in file names (_) between words. You must not use neither Ä or Ö -letters.
Include the file format in the name of the file (for example png) before the dot so that it will be visible on all operating systems.
❷ Examples of illustrative icons
❸ Exaples of user interface icons
Joint use of typography and icons
The signage icons can be used in the text, in which case the icons are scaled in accordance with the size of the text (A).
Alternatively, the signage icons can be used as own, separate elements, in which case their size is defined in accordance with the given protected area. (B, C).
When the signage is multilingual, the different languages must be positioned on their own separate rows. (A, B).
If the text content is notably extensive, then the different languages can be grouped into own columns (C).
The City of Helsinki’s outdoor signage consists of the framed logo and a text section placed under it.
The name of the place or a description and an address can be positioned under the Helsinki framed logo.
The protected area (see Protected area around the logo) must be considered in the use of the Helsinki framed logo.
The size of the outdoor signage is established according to the size and contents of the signage surface.
Placing only a street address under the Helsinki framed logo is also possible.
When the building or place to be provided with signage has an established name among the citizens, then the Helsinki framed logo can be replaced by the respective framed logo of the building or place.
The framed logo can also be used without the text content underneath.
The language of the Helsinki framed logo is determined by the languages of the user group in the building or object to be provided with signage.
For example, using the Finnish framed logo is justified in schools where Finnish is used as the teaching language.
Floor and main signage
The floor and main signage consists of a floor number, a signage text part and the floor plan.
A sufficient distance between the signage elements must be considered in the positioning. The recommended distance between the elements is based on the protected area of the Helsinki framed logo.
The size of the floor and main signage is defined according to the size and contents of the signage surface.
The floor signage contains signage information of at least one floor. The main signage is a broader collection of the signage information of the entire building or place. Alternatively, the floor and main signage can also be formed in a way where each information element is positioned on its own background.
The direction signage consists of a text part and signage icons.
The signage icons can be placed as part of the text, in which case the size of them is determined according to the text size.
The text on the direction signage must be positioned on the opposite side of the arrow showing the direction.
The size of the direction signage is defined according to the size and contents of the signage surface.
The signage icons can also be used in direction signage free from the text on their own backgrounds. The size of the signage icons is determined according to their protected area.
If the text part is not connected to the signage icon, then the text must be aligned to the left.
If the direction signage is multilingual, then each language is positioned on its own row.
The room signage is realised according to the principles of the direction signage, aligned to the left and each language positioned on its own row.
Alternatively, the room signage can also be centralised.
The size of the room signage is defined according to the size and contents of the signage surface.
Icon room signage
The icon room signage is realised according to the given protected area in square format.
The size of the icon room signage is defined according to the size of the signage surface. The icon room signage must be sizewise in line with the room signage.
Floor number signage
The floor number signage is realised in square format, where the floor number is positioned in the centre of the surface.
In the positioning of the number, attention must be paid to the upper and lower minimum margin of the surface.
The size of the floor number signage is defined according to the size and contents of the signage surface.