University of Chicago Medicine

Preview image featuring Stephen Tarnoki on the left, and one of the projects on the right.

Case Study

How the University of Chicago Medicine took control of their wayfinding and signage program

UChicago Medicine Main Photo

UChicago Medicine

Stephen Tarnoki is an Assistant Director in the Office of Space Planning, Real Estate Development and Architectural Services at the University of Chicago Medicine. Stephen has a wide range of responsibilities. A relatively small, but important part of his work includes the ongoing management and upkeep of indoor and outdoor wayfinding signage for pedestrian and vehicle traffic across an 8 million square-foot campus.


An inconsistent mismatch of years of sign designs

Managing the campus-wide wayfinding program had become a tedious, time-consuming process for Stephen’s team that had the potential to pull them away from higher priority activities. To begin with, there was little or no complete record of sign inventory across the campus, such as physical assets, sign content, locations, or quantities. As a result, the signage system contained an inconsistent mismatch of years of different sign designs.

Information that did exist was distributed through different documents and departments. As a result, it was very difficult to share information with various project stakeholders in an effective way, and track activities. Some sign information was stored in a database but there was no easy way to output it, requiring them to go into Illustrator and create each graphic individually, before saving them and sending them to vendors.

The hospital needed a more streamlined solution that would allow them to make changes, get message schedules printed, send the art to vendors, and get the signs installed, all in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. Serigraphics — one of their agency partners — recommended they take a look at SignAgent.

Photos of every sign on campus can be captured using the SignAgent Mobile App. The photos are mapped to their exact position within the location plan, and data about the sign is synced to the organization's database.

A photo of a sign stored in SignAgent

Reduced "Time to Wall," from Audit to Installation

SignAgent started by using the SignAgent Mobile App to complete an expansive on-location audit of their signs.

In a few days, SignAgent’s audit crew captured all the required sign information in and around the campus and synced it into the cloud-based SignAgent platform, where it was categorized and aligned to their site maps and location plans.

Once the information was in the system, messages were entered and production-ready sign artwork templates were produced, so anyone could picture exactly what each sign would look like in its proper location.

With the sign art ready for production, Stephen was able to send work orders to his fabrication company, so that the signs could be produced affordably and installed efficiently.


Control. Confidence. Efficiency.

UChicago Medicine now has a clear, well-documented wayfinding system. Stephen Tarnoki and his team have been able to take complete control of a process that had gotten out of hand. Through their use of SignAgent’s services and sign management platform, Steve’s team now has an inventory of 5,000 signs that is always up to date, including messages, graphics, photographs, and notes.

For on-going maintenance, Stephen has the confidence that even if he hasn’t logged in for a few months, his data is secure, accurate, and ready to use. When he needs to make changes, he doesn't have to visit the campus to see what's there. Instead, it's as easy as searching for the sign in SignAgent, updating the content and pressing “print.” He is also able to create crystal clear work orders for his sign fabricators and installers. With accurate directions, the installers are able to do all of the sign updates in a single visit, reducing a process that once took months to just a couple of days.

Artwork in SignAgent is automatically generated, print-ready, and mapped to its exact location within your floor plans, so you know exactly what every sign should look like and where it should be.

Screenshot of SignArtwork in SignAgent platform

“SignAgent helps us get signs up when we need them.

When changes need to be made, SignAgent has enabled us to get in and get our whenever we need to with the confidence that our database is always up to date. That has meant convenience and huge cost savings for our department, but ultimately it also means a less stressful experience for hospital visitors—It's pretty hard to put a price on that.”

Stephen Tarnoki

Assistant Director
University of Chicago Medicine

Stephen Tarnoki's headshot

Stephen Tarnoki

Assistant Director
University of Chicago Medicine


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