These revelations can today be exclusively revealed by York Vision after official figures were obtained following a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
A breakdown of the costs shows the university spent £6,000 on a design agency and a further £45,950 on creating and installing the signs over the summer break.
Second-year chemist Marnie Grant said: “They should have just got university students to design the artwork.
“It’s not worth fifty grand.”
David Duncan defended the costs saying: “We have embarked on major improvements to the campus, of which the refurbishment of the Library (already completed) and the construction of new teaching facilities on the West and East campuses (scheduled for completion in 2016 and 2017 respectively) are only the first phase.
“However, in the meantime, we want to make all parts of the campus as attractive as possible.
“The recent work to brighten some of the older parts of the campus are intended to do just that.
“We are also planning a major overhaul of signage to make it easier for people to find their way around the campus.”
However, archaeology student Freya Kingsley said: “Half the fun in going to university is getting lost around campus and finding new things.”
The summer spending covered a wide range of signage including the automatic door stickers and bridge banners.
One PPE student said: “How much? The University must have been handing out blank cheques.
“[The automatic door stickers] in Derwent are an eyesore. They just make it harder to see through them.”
YUSU President Ben Leatham said: “It is incredibly important that the University appeals to prospective students on open days.
“The premise of investing in boards and banners to increase this appeal is a good one.
“Having said that, some of the investments aren’t particularly effective.
“Based extensively on student feedback I will be working closely with the University to ensure that all future investments are as effective as possible.”