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Free Printable Out of Order Sign Templates [PDF, Word] Restroom

    When equipment breaks down or areas require temporary closure for maintenance, clearly communicating “out of order” is essential. Posting visible signage prevents confusion, accidents, or improper use during service interruptions. However, purchasing commercial signs can be expensive, especially for frequent needs.

    This article provides printable DIY out of order sign templates that can be customized and printed inexpensively as required. We offer professionally designed templates for standard equipment like elevators, ATMs and restrooms, plus blank signs for unique needs. Our creative templates transform mundane signs into eye-catching announcements. Being able to quickly make and post your own out of order signs saves time and money while still effectively alerting patrons and preventing issues. Read on for guidance on sign wording, design, placement and printable sign templates to have on hand for any situation requiring an out of order notice.

    Out of Order Sign Templates

    An out of order sign indicates when equipment or a service is unavailable for use. It alerts people to a malfunctioning or inaccessible item. An out of order sign template provides a standardized design to convey this message.

    The sign typically consists of the words “OUT OF ORDER” in bold, capitalized text. Some versions incorporate a prohibition symbol like a circle with a slash to further signify unavailability. The lettering is often large and brightly colored, like red or yellow, to attract attention. The out of order template employs these simple, highly visible cues.

    Posting an out of order sign is important to prevent frustration and improper use of dysfunctional equipment. It relieves the user from blame and prompts them to seek alternatives. The standardized out of order template quickly communicates the universal message across many contexts like bathrooms, elevators, vending machines and amusement park rides. Visual consistency improves comprehension and compliance.

    Purpose Of An “Out Of Order” Sign

    Out Of Order Sign
    Out Of Order Sign

    An “Out of Order” sign serves several important purposes in various settings, such as public facilities, workplaces, transportation hubs, and more. Its fundamental role is to inform individuals that a particular machine, service, or area is currently non-functional or unsafe for use, but the implications and reasons for its usage are multifaceted.

    First and foremost, the sign ensures safety. If a machine or facility poses a potential threat due to malfunction, an “Out of Order” sign will caution people against using it, thereby preventing accidents or injuries. For example, an elevator that isn’t operating correctly might trap people inside or even drop suddenly. By placing an “Out of Order” sign, building management can prevent potential mishaps by directing people to use alternative routes or methods.

    Secondly, the sign serves a communicative purpose by managing expectations. When users encounter a service or machine, they typically expect it to be in working order. Discovering it isn’t only after attempting to use it can lead to frustration, wasted time, or even financial cost in some scenarios. For instance, if someone inserts money into a vending machine that doesn’t work, they might lose their money. An “Out of Order” sign pre-empts this scenario by setting clear expectations that the machine or service is currently unavailable.

    Lastly, the sign can also offer an indirect assurance to users that the management or responsible parties are aware of the issue. When people see an “Out of Order” sign, they may infer that the malfunction has been identified and that there are likely efforts underway to rectify the situation. This can mitigate potential complaints or repeated reporting of the same issue, allowing maintenance personnel or management to focus on resolving the problem rather than fielding redundant notifications.

    To sum up, an “Out of Order” sign is more than just a notice of malfunction. It is an essential tool for ensuring safety, managing user expectations, and communicating awareness and action regarding issues.

    Common Places And Scenarios Where They’re Used

    “Out of Order” signs are versatile and can be found in numerous locations and scenarios. Some common places and situations where you might encounter them include:

    1. Public Restrooms: If a toilet or faucet isn’t working correctly, an “Out of Order” sign ensures that people don’t attempt to use it and possibly exacerbate the problem or get inconvenienced.
    2. Elevators: When elevators malfunction, they can pose a significant risk. An “Out of Order” sign warns potential users to take stairs or other elevators.
    3. Vending Machines: If a machine is failing to dispense items or is experiencing another malfunction, an “Out of Order” sign can prevent users from losing their money or becoming frustrated.
    4. Public Transport: Buses, trains, or trams that are experiencing issues might have an “Out of Order” sign to inform passengers to wait for the next one.
    5. Parking Meters or Automated Ticket Machines: When these machines malfunction, an “Out of Order” sign lets drivers or passengers know that they can’t pay or get tickets from that specific machine.
    6. ATMs: If an ATM is out of cash, experiencing a technical glitch, or undergoing maintenance, a bank might put up an “Out of Order” sign.
    7. Gas Stations: Sometimes, a particular pump might not be dispensing fuel correctly. In such cases, an “Out of Order” sign will guide drivers to use another pump.
    8. Laundromats: Washers or dryers that are broken will typically have a sign on them to prevent individuals from placing their clothes inside.
    9. Office Equipment Rooms: Equipment such as photocopiers, printers, or coffee machines might have an “Out of Order” sign when they malfunction.
    10. Public Telephones: Given that these are less common now due to the prevalence of mobile phones, if they do malfunction, an “Out of Order” sign will be placed to inform potential users.
    11. Recreational Areas: In places like arcades or bowling alleys, games or lanes that are not operational might have an “Out of Order” sign.
    12. Hotels: Sometimes, certain amenities like ice machines, fitness equipment, or even rooms might be temporarily out of service and would have an appropriate sign indicating this.
    13. Water Fountains: If the water isn’t safe to drink or the fountain isn’t functioning correctly, an “Out of Order” sign ensures that people don’t drink from it.

    Types of Out of Order Signs

    When a piece of equipment or part of a facility is temporarily unusable, there are many types of out of order signs that may be needed to alert users. Here are some common types:

    Standard “Out of Order” Signs

    These are the most basic and straightforward type of signs that simply convey the message that something isn’t working. Typically, they feature bold lettering on a noticeable background, usually in contrasting colors like black and yellow or red and white, to ensure visibility. The primary objective of a standard “Out of Order” sign is to be clear and easily understood. They don’t necessarily provide any additional information beyond the fact that the equipment, room, or service is currently non-operational. Such signs are versatile and can be used in virtually any setting, from public restrooms to office equipment rooms.

    Themed or Humorous Signs

    These types of signs incorporate humor, creativity, or theme-specific designs to convey the message. They might be found in environments that are more casual or where the audience appreciates a touch of levity. For instance, a beach resort might have an “Out of Order” sign shaped like a surfboard, or a coffee shop might use a playful message like “Brewing up some fixes” for a broken coffee machine. While these signs serve the primary purpose of informing people about a malfunction, they also add an element of charm and can lighten the mood, making the inconvenience a little more bearable for users.

    Signs with a Specified Return Time or Date

    These signs not only inform users that something is out of order but also provide an estimated timeframe for when the service or equipment is expected to be back in operation. This can be particularly useful in places where people rely on the equipment or service regularly. For instance, an elevator in a large office building might have a sign saying “Out of Order, Expected to be fixed by 3 PM.” This type of transparency can help users plan their activities or seek alternatives accordingly. Such signs demonstrate proactive management and can reduce potential frustrations by setting clear expectations.

    Signs for Specific Equipment

    Tailored for particular machinery or locations, these signs offer clear context about what exactly is non-functional. For example, in a multi-facility restroom, an “Out of Order” sign might specifically read “Urinal Out of Order” or “Hand Dryer Out of Service.” Similarly, an elevator sign might have an icon of an elevator alongside the text. These specific signs are beneficial as they provide clear guidance on what to avoid while ensuring that users understand other facilities or equipment might still be operational. They can often be found pre-printed for common equipment like elevators, ATMs, or vending machines, making it easier for management to promptly address issues as they arise.

    Design Principles for Effective Signs

    Creating out of order signs that effectively communicate service disruptions requires some thoughtful design considerations. An unattractive, haphazard sign may be overlooked or disregarded. By keeping a few key design principles in mind, you can maximize the impact of your signage.

    Readability and Font Choices

    At the heart of any effective sign is its readability. The primary function of a sign is to convey information quickly and clearly, and the choice of font plays a crucial role in this. Fonts should be simple, legible, and devoid of excessive stylistic flourishes. Scripted or heavily stylized fonts may look aesthetically pleasing but can compromise readability, especially from a distance or in a quick glance. Additionally, the size of the text matters. It’s essential to ensure that the text is large enough to be read from the intended viewing distance. Using a mix of font weights, such as bold for headings and regular for supplementary information, can further enhance readability.

    Size and Proportions

    The size of the sign itself is vital to ensure it captures attention, especially in environments filled with visual stimuli. The sign’s size should be proportional to the space it occupies and the distance from which it’s expected to be viewed. For example, a sign intended to be seen from a roadway should be considerably larger than one designed for a hallway. Besides the overall size, the proportions between the elements within the sign — such as text, icons, and borders — need to be harmonious and balanced. This ensures that the sign looks organized and the information is structured logically, allowing viewers to quickly comprehend the message.

    Color Schemes and Contrast

    Colors play a dual role in signage: they capture attention and convey information. The choice of color can influence a viewer’s emotional response and the urgency with which they perceive the sign. For example, red is often used for warnings or to indicate something of immediate importance. However, beyond the psychological impact of colors, contrast is paramount. There should be a strong contrast between the background color and the text or symbols, ensuring maximum visibility. A classic example is black text on a white background or vice versa. However, it’s essential to be mindful of color-blindness and ensure that contrasts are visible to all.

    Incorporating Relevant Icons or Symbols

    Symbols and icons can convey information faster than words, given that our brains often process images quicker than text. Using universally recognized symbols, like a stop sign or a restroom icon, can provide immediate clarity, reducing the time it takes for a viewer to understand the sign’s message. Moreover, in multicultural or international settings, icons can bridge language barriers. However, it’s crucial that the symbols used are easily recognizable and not ambiguous. The symbol’s size and placement should be in harmony with the text, ensuring neither overshadows the other. When used effectively, icons can greatly enhance the sign’s communicative power.

    Printable Tips For Out Of Order Sign

    Creating a printable “Out of Order” sign that is both effective and clear requires some forethought. Here are detailed tips to ensure your sign communicates its intended message efficiently:

    1. Use High-Resolution Graphics: Ensure that any graphics or logos you use are of high resolution. This ensures that when printed, the sign remains sharp and legible, avoiding any pixelation.

    2. Paper Quality: It’s recommended to print on thicker paper or card stock to ensure durability, especially if the sign needs to be up for an extended period. Lamination can further enhance its longevity, especially in areas where the sign might be exposed to moisture or frequent handling.

    3. Large, Bold Font: The words “Out of Order” should be in a large, bold font, ensuring they are the first thing someone notices. Avoid fancy or cursive fonts which might be harder to read at a glance.

    4. Brief Explanation (if needed): If space allows and it’s pertinent, include a brief description of the problem. For instance, “Elevator not functioning” or “Machine not dispensing.”

    5. Expected Resolution Time: If you know when the problem will be resolved, it’s helpful to include that on the sign. For example: “Expected to be fixed by 4 PM.”

    6. Use Contrast: Make sure there’s a strong contrast between the background and the text. Black text on a white background or white text on a dark background are classic combinations that ensure readability.

    7. Relevant Symbols: Include symbols relevant to the issue. For instance, an elevator icon for an elevator out of service or a faucet for a non-working sink. This provides immediate context, especially helpful in multi-lingual or high-traffic environments.

    8. Contact Information: If possible, provide a contact number or email for those who might have further questions or need to report additional issues.

    9. Keep It Simple: While it’s essential to provide necessary information, avoid cluttering the sign with too much text or too many graphics. The primary message should be understood quickly.

    10. Sizing Matters: Consider where the sign will be placed. If it’s on a large door or in a wide hallway, ensure the sign is big enough to be easily noticed and read from a reasonable distance.

    11. Secure Properly: Ensure the sign is secured properly to the malfunctioning equipment or door. Using non-residue tape can be helpful, especially if placing the sign on glass or delicate surfaces.

    12. Pre-Printed Templates: If you’re frequently in need of “Out of Order” signs, consider having pre-printed templates on hand. These can be quickly filled out and deployed as needed.


    Experiencing downtime for repairs and maintenance often necessitates alerting users with clear signage. Purchasing commercial signs for every need can get costly. We hope this article and free, customizable templates help provide an affordable DIY option for creating eye-catching out of order signs on demand.

    Our creatively designed templates for common needs like restrooms, elevators, ATMs, and general repairs allow you to quickly print professional-looking notices. Customize our blank signs with your own wording for unique situations. Properly notifying patrons of closures demonstrates thoughtful care for their convenience and safety. Use these printable sign templates so your business or organization is always prepared to promptly post out of order messaging wherever required. With the right signage, you can avoid user confusion and prevent potential hazards during service disruptions.


    What should be included on an “Out of Order” sign?

    A basic “Out of Order” sign should clearly state that the item or area is out of order. For added clarity, you can include the reason for the malfunction, an expected time of repair, and contact information for further inquiries or reports.

    Are there regulations or standards for “Out of Order” signs?

    While there isn’t a universal standard specifically for “Out of Order” signs, certain industries or regions might have specific guidelines for safety or informational signage. It’s advisable to check local regulations, especially in areas or industries where safety is a primary concern.

    How big should an “Out of Order” sign be?

    The size of the sign depends on its intended location and viewing distance. For example, a sign on a restroom stall door might be smaller than one intended for an elevator in a spacious lobby. The key is to ensure that it’s easily visible and readable from the typical viewing distance.

    Are there alternative phrases to “Out of Order”?

    Yes, depending on the context, signs might say “Temporarily Unavailable,” “Under Maintenance,” “Not in Service,” or “Currently Inoperable.”

    Should “Out of Order” signs be laminated or covered for protection?

    Laminating signs can increase their durability, especially in areas exposed to moisture, frequent touching, or outdoor environments. It’s a good idea if you anticipate the sign will be up for an extended period or reused in the future.

    Can “Out of Order” signs be used outdoors?

    Yes, but ensure that they are made of durable, weather-resistant materials if they are to be used outdoors. Lamination or weatherproofing measures can help protect the sign from elements like rain, sun, and wind.

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    Betina Jessen

    Betina Jessen

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