Beautiful Signs for a Better Planet

WELL Building Standard Sign Guide


Thoughtful signage system design and signs with a Red List Approved Declare label can enhance certified WELL Building Standard® building occupants’ experience.  

Green Dot Sign® specializes in sustainable ADA and wayfinding signage and our goals overlap with the WELL Building Standard. To learn about the role of WELL Building Standard signage we dove into the WELL building framework.  Our research is shared through the below WELL Building Standard Signage Guide and eight findings from a July 2021 survey of AECO professionals.

WELL Building Standard Signage

The WELL building framework is growing in popularity and in 2021 was in use by over 30,286 projects in 98 countries, encompassing over 3.08 billion square feet of real estate.

There are numerous opportunities for ADA, wayfinding and educational signage in the WELL Building Standard. An effective WELL Building Standard signage system can contribute to multiple WELL v2 preconditions and optimization points.  For example, signage can be used to promote stair use over an elevator, discourage tobacco use or direct to healthy food options.


The WELL Building Standard leads “the global movement to transform our buildings, communities and organizations in ways that help people thrive.”

On average we spend more than 90% of our time in buildings.  WELL is the first building standard focused on enhancing human health and well being through the built environment.  Evidence based WELL performance standards help to reduce occupants stress, increase work productivity and retain employees.

The WELL Building Standard is managed and administered through the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).  IWBI was established in 2013 and is certified by the Green Business Certification Incorporation (GBCI), which also administers the USGBC LEED® green building program.  

The first WELL Building Standard, WELL v1, launched in 2014. Seven years of research including a two-year pilot program and a formal peer review process were conducted to ensure framework rigor.  WELL v2 was released as a pilot in 2018 and officially launched in 2020.  At this time, version 2 remains the most up to date WELL standard.

For more detailed information about WELL v2 requirements please review the WELL Certified Overview.


The WELL v2 framework organizes building certification requirements into the ten core concepts of Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community. Each concept has preconditions, which are required for WELL building certification. Additionally, within every concept there are optimizations for earning additional points and achieving a higher level of WELL certification.

Within the WELL rating system there are 110 points available in each project scorecard. Building certification levels are 40 points for Bronze, 5o points for Silver, 60 points for Gold and 80 or more points for Platinum. Building performance is verified through documentation reviews and on-site testing.


This Guide section provides detailed information about WELL Building Standard signage within each WELL concept. Links to WELL V2 requirements are provided for further explanation.

WELL Precondition

Signs are required to clearly communicate the WELL certified building precondition of a smoke-free environment.


  • In A02 Smoke-Free Environment smoking and e-cigarette use is prohibited in all indoor and most outdoor building locations for all projects. If smoking is permitted in any outdoor space signs that describe the hazards of smoking must be placed along walkways with not more than 100 feet between signs.

WELL Optimization

Two types of WELL Building Standard signage are required for the non-potable water reuse optimization.
First, when appropriate, WELL project sign systems should label potable water and non-potable water.  For example, a sign could communicate the message “Non-potable – do not drink”. Additionally, informative signage, such as a a water reuse diagram, should be used to highlight the conservation goals and safety features of a non-potable water reuse system.


WELL Precondition

Signs in a WELL certified building can present required information about food and beverage options at point of decision, helping individuals make informed healthy eating choices.


  • Per precondition N02 Nutritional Transparency specific information for food and beverages distributed in the WELL building project must be displayed via signage, menus or packaging.  Key nourishment information includes calories, macronutrient content, sugar content, primary ingredients and common food allergens.


WELL Optimizations


WELL Building Standard signage is a way to provide information about healthy food choices.  To earn part 1 of this optimization at least three signs should be used to encourage consumption of whole, natural foods and/or encourage drinking water. Additionally, for optimization part 2 on menu signage healthy items should be prominently displayed.



Signs are also one of the resources that can be used to deliver educational nutrition information for another WELL building optimization.


  • Per optimization N07 Nutrition Education (1 point) no cost educational information must be provided to building occupants at least quarterly.  In additional to cookbooks, demonstrations, workshops and dietary consultations, nutrition information can be delivered via brochures, posters and online.


WELL Precondition

Signs at high traffic points are a way to provide required educational information about the value of strategic lighting in WELL projects.


  • In precondition L10 Light Exposure and Education lighting type and intensity are regulated and lighting education through several forms is required.  Specific lighting education topics include circadian rhythm, sleep hygiene, age-related increases in light requirements and the importance of daylight exposure on circadian rhythm and mental health. For WELL signage, the primary language(s) spoken by the local population should be considered.

WELL Preconditions & Optimizations

WELL Building Standard signage can encourage building occupants to be active through walking up stairs or walking on a path.  Signs may also provide information about ergonomic workstations.


  • Precondition V01 Active Buildings and Communities requires a certified WELL building to include at least one movement feature.  Relevant movement feature optimizations that include signage are listed next.


  • Within V03 Movement Network and Circulation Part 2 (1 point)  is the option to integrate point-of-decision signage that encourages stair use. Within WELL building at least one of this type of WELL sign must be used at elevator banks or other modes of motorized circulation such as escalators, the base of stairs, stairwells or re-entry points at each floor and corridor junctions that lead to either stairs or a motorized circulation modes. The primary language(s) spoken by the local population should be considered for stairs signage.


  • Alternately, V09 Exterior Active Design Part 2 (1 point) includes the option to provide at least two on-site pedestrian destinations within the project. One of these destinations can be a walking path or trail supported with wayfinding signage.


  • In the V02 Visual and Physical Ergonomics Part 5 precondition it is required for WELL v2 projects to provide educational information about ergonomic workstation furnishings for desk- and standing-based workstations. WELL signs can also be used to provide educational information about safe workplace ergonomics.

WELL Optimization

A walking trail or path supported by wayfinding signage from the WELL Movement concept is also relevant under the Thermal Comfort concept.


  • In T09 β Outdoor Thermal Comfort Part 3 (1 point) there is the beta option to support outdoor nature access through on-site pedestrian destinations. This beta optimization component is in addition to parts that focus on designing outdoor spaces that manage heat and excessive wind.

WELL Optimization

WELL Building Standard signs should be used to indicate the location and purpose of Quiet and Mixed Zones.


  • In beta optimization S07 β Enhanced Audio Devices Part 2 (1 point) there are four ways to support individual acoustical needs and projects must meet three of four options.  One option is to have at least a once daily quiet hour scheduled and signage to identify Quiet and Mixed Zones as identified in S01 Sound Mapping.


WELL Precondition

WELL building products and materials, including educational and ADA and wayfinding signage, should not contain materials known to be hazardous.


  • In precondition X01 Fundamental Material Precautions hazardous ingredient components in newly installed building materials are restricted.  Specific focus is placed on restricting asbestos, mercury and lead.


WELL Optimizations

Signage should follow the same principles as other newly installed building materials in order to reduce exposure to hazardous heavy metals, phthalates and VOCs.



To support the objectives of WELL Materials concept preconditions and optimizations building products, including WELL signs, that meet precautions and material transparency guidelines should be selected.


  • Per X13 Enhanced Material Precaution (2 points) newly installed furnishings, built-in furniture, interior finishes and finish materials with optimized materials should be selected.  Within this optimization one or two points are earned for 15% or 25% of materials by cost meeting the requirements of a program that restricts, screens and labels the use of hazardous contents. The three programs that can be used to verify material optimization are ILFI Declare, No Greenscreen and Cradle to Cradle.


  • Additionally, in X14 Material Transparency (2 points) newly installed interior finishes, furnishings and built-in furniture with transparency labels that disclose ingredients should be selected.  One or two WELL optimization points can be earned for 25% or 50% of products by cost providing relevant disclosures.  Acceptable programs are Declare label, Health Product Declaration (HPD) and any screening or hazard disclosure accepted in the USGBC LEED® v4 Materials & Resources Credit: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Material Ingredients, Option 1: material ingredient reporting.


Finally, WELL Building Standard signage can educate occupants on building practices and promote contact reduction strategies such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and hands-free operation.


WELL Optimizations

ADA signage should be use to properly identify restorative spaces and educational WELL Building Standard signage can provide information about restorative and sleep spaces.


  • In the M07 Restorative Spaces (2 points) optimization one point is awarded for providing restorative indoor spaces and another point for providing outdoor restorative space. Each of these optimization parts have several requirements including accessible design and educational materials.  Educational signage is a way to meet the optimization requirement of communicating about daytime napping, fatigue, sleep hygiene and managing problems associated with shift work.


  • In M11 Sleep Support Part 1 (1 point) there are four requirements for providing workplace sleep support.  One of the requirements is making sleep educational materials available.


WELL signs are a way to provide educational information about tobacco harms, cessation strategies and other tobacco health resources to all regular building occupants.



Signs in a WELL certified building communicate and promote a culture of health.


  • Optimization C06 Health Promotion Part 1 (2 points) requires the promotion of occupant health through at least two of four strategies.  One of the four strategy options includes signage that reinforces a culture of health and markets health programs to employees.  When creating signage the language(s) of the local population should be considered.


An organization’s participation in a program that promotes equity and program results can be publicly displayed within a WELL building with signage.


  • In the C12 Organizational Transparency (2 points) optimization projects are encouraged to participate in third party certified programs that evaluate an organization’s equity and inclusion. The ILFI Just disclosure framework is one of six approved programs.


Fully compliant ADA signs and a thoughtful wayfinding signage system are critical for ensuring accessibility and accommodating a range of occupants’ abilities. Unfortunately, federal ADA signage regulations can be confusing and cumbersome.  To ensure your next building project’s signage is ADA compliant review our ADA Sign Requirement FAQs.


  • Meeting all local accessibility laws and/or codes is required by C13 Accessibility and Universal Design Part 1 (1 point) and integrating universal design principles is covered by Part 2 (2 points). Under the Universal Design section a professional must ensure that spaces are optimized to meet occupant needs.  Among the six design considerations is wayfinding and using signage to help individuals navigate intuitively.


WELL Building Standard signage at the entrance of a community spaces should clearly state the space’s designation for public use and the hours it is open.




The WELL Materials concept highlights the importance of healthy materials and building product ingredient transparency. Green Dot signs meet Materials concept requirements and can contribute to other WELL preconditions and optimizations.

As of 2022 Green Dot Sign® aspen base signage is the only available signage backed by an International Living Future Institute (ILFI) Red List Approved Declare label.

It took considerable product development and durability testing to earn a Declare label. Declare requires products material disclosure to 100 PPM, ten times the requirement for HPDs.  Red List Approved means this product does not contain the worst materials for our planet, including vinyl and phthalates.


Well Signage System Declare Label

Click the Declare logo to see our ILFI product listing.


In July 2021 Green Dot Sign surveyed thirty AECO industry professionals about their sign preferences and perceptions of WELL Building Standard signage. Survey participants were primarily recruited through LinkedIn and the Green Dot Sign® email newsletter.  A tree was planted for each completed survey through

WELL SignageWELL Signage    WELL Signage   WELL SignageWELL Signage

1. Signage is relevant in WELL buildings.

To varying degrees, all survey respondents agreed that signage is an important component of WELL buildings. The majority of participants, 57%, strongly agreed that signage is an integral aspect of their WELL projects. 

2. Most AECO professionals want eco-friendly signage.

In the survey, 80% of respondents agreed that they would specify or purchase eco-friendly signage. Only one respondent was uninterested in eco-friendly signage. 

3. Material transparency is important.

Most AECO professionals prefer to know their signs’ material composition. A sign’s material ingredients are not less important than its appearance according to 80% of respondents. 

4. Signs with a Declare label are also preferred.

Similarly to eco-friendly specs, 90% of AECO professionals surveyed agreed that FSC100% signage and a Red List Declare label certification is desirable. Only three participants were neutral on whether or not a Declare label would make them more likely to select a particular sign option.

5. WELL Building Standard signage could be better understood by the signage industry.

Trouble finding sign suppliers that understand the WELL Building Standard framework was reported by 38% of respondents. Another 44% were neutral regarding if it is difficult to find a supplier familiar with WELL.

6. Many designers want to submit custom WELL Building Standard signage designs.

In our survey 48% of respondents would like to submit custom sign designs.  This was balanced by another 38% which provided a neutral response and 10% without a desire to submit their own sign designs.  

7. WELL Building Standard signage designs and packages should be easy to understand and cohesive.

Several themes emerged from detailed feedback on the above five WELL Building Standard signage designs.  First, signs should contain more graphics and less text. Although, for clarity sometimes words should be spelled out and symbols should not be used. Last, signs should be visually appealing with nice typography, attractive colors and uniform design throughout a signage package.  

8. Some sign designs more likely to be used in WELL buildings than others.

The number of respondents likely to use any particular sign message in their WELL building varies from 63% to 40% with the “Hydrate” sign being the most likely to be used and the “Walking Loop” WELL Building Standard sign the least likely to be used in a building project.


ASSESS compliance > DESIGN thoughtfully > MANUFACTURE sustainably > INSTALL skillfully

Green Dot Sign® is based in Saint Paul, Minnesota and partners with brands, AECO project teams and sign companies across the U.S. Signage experts since 2009 and eco-friendly sign specialists since 2019, we offer standard ADA and wayfinding signs for fast delivery and custom interior and exterior signage to provide a sustainable signage solution for every building.

From ADA signage needs evaluation to sign design, fabrication, project management or installation Green Dot Sign® handles any part or all of the signage needs for your next building project. Message us today for a no obligation WELL certified building signage consultation or fast quote and free samples.


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