Many is the practice visit I make where the signage in the premises is either scruffy, irrelevant or confusing.

The pictured sign was spotted at Pret a Manger (yes, my favourites) in Newcastle on Tyne.

I took a break from a client conversation, wandered down the corridor and, faced with this signage on the toilet door, froze, unable to decide what to do next.

Well, for a moment or two anyway, until nature’s call became greater than my social inhibitions.

I suspect that signage in dental practices isn’t quite so confusing but the “presentation” is often below par.

I’m well known for arriving at a new client’s premises and, after asking permission, wandering around the place, taking down laminated sheets that have been Blu-Tacked to walls, cupboard doors, doors proper and the front of expensive reception desks.

“We have to put these up for the CQC!

Well that may be the case but here are some lessons that you might want to take note of:

if it has to be up there – get it properly framed and mounted or hung
if it doesn’t have to be up there – don’t put it up there
if there is any Blu-Tack or sellotape then pull it down and replace as above
remember that you have about 15 seconds attention span – if I cannot read what you want to say in that timescale – take it down
don’t confuse me (as above)

Oh – and while I’m at it:

get rid of those charitable plastic collection pots and replace them with a practice charity that you support as part of your CSR programme (Bridge2Aid!)
get rid of those posters that feature photo-stock pin ups of Americans with big smiles
get rid of other businesses brands on promotional material – promote only your own brand
get rid of clutter
get rid of dog-eared magazines
get rid of crappy DIY loops on the TV


use Purple Wifi to offer free internet access and collect email addresses at the same time
use professional signage that asks people to friend your Facebook page
use real photos of real patients throughout your premises
use professionally made TV loops to tell stories about patients whose lives you have changed and stop talking about products

Let pictures tell a story.


Like this patient photograph from the team at Your Perfect Smile in Aviemore, featured in their marketing and on posters in the premises.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.