Running Man Self Luminous Exit Signs

The Shift in Exit Signage

The classic American exit sign typically has red exit letters. Some cities like Chicago and New York even make this distinction mandatory. Self luminous exit signs, while not available in red lettering, do have red stencil outlines that comply in these districts.


See Our Green Single Sided Self Luminous Exit Signs

However, Canada and most of Europe and Asia have long since parted with typography. They have instead adopted pictographs that meet ISO (International Organization for Standardization) rules and are recognized throughout the rest of the world.

The most popular ISO-approved pictograph is the 'running man design', depicting a green running man going through a white door, framed by green walls. This is to reduce confusion in our ever-changing cosmopolitain world.

New Exit Strategy

Street Fighters of Public Health blogger Hella Gloire wrote recently about the United State's slow movement towards embracing the stick figure man. In her post, "Doing the Running Man: A New 'Exit' Strategy." She suggests that Americans, always slow to embrace new ideas (what happened to the Metric system changeover?) are doing the same when it comes to exit signs.

Gloire also references an earlier article from Slate Magazine, highlighting the fact that so many of our citizens speak English as a second language. Also, we have come to associate red with 'stop' and green for 'go.' It's easy to see how this can be confusing at a psychological level.

Luckily, self luminous exit signs will adapt easily to this sea change, since tritium tubes naturally glow green already. Custom stencils and pictographs are already available, including the running man. For customers who buy 20 year sign models that could last through a change in exit policy, you can get started now.

Where Does Running Man Come From?

The ISO commissioned the ubiquitous green 'running man' in the late 1970's from Japanese Designer Yukio Ota. It became the ISO standard in 1985, after seeing widespread adoption throughout Europe and Asia.

See Our Green Double Sided Self Luminous Exit Signs

Fans argue that Ota's running man is a truly international symbol. Instead of ordering a custom self powered exit sign with two or even three different languages spelling out 'exit', a single pictogram legend make a lot of sense.


Most exit sign distributors including the Self Luminous Exit Sign Co. can usually convey your sign preference to the manufacturer. Whether you want different color stencils, multiple languages, the running man symbols or even braille; it doesn't even have to say exit.

Call Sales for more information at 800-379-1129.

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