Guide the Way with Wayfinding Signage

Getting lost in a new environment is very frustrating and confusing at times. Whether on foot or in a car, not knowing where to go can waste time and gas. It leaves people feeling helpless and with a bad impression about the city, business or campus that they are trying to visit. A frustrated customer or visitor is not the best first impression for your business.

Wayfinding signs are the solution to your problem. An effective wayfinding sign will provide a positive experience for a visitor or customer. For the owner of a business or head of a school, implementing wayfinding signage is the key to keeping visitors headed in the right direction easily and quickly.

What Is a Wayfinding Sign?

Wayfinding signs are designed to help pedestrians and motorists navigate an environment. Implementing wayfinding signage involves many factors such as lighting, color, landscape, the layout of the space, and architecture.

Types of Wayfinding Signs

1. Directional signs guide you in the right direction. They can be placed externally along roads or intersections. They can also be placed at the entrance to a building or at key points within a building to inform visitors where to go. An example is a sign within an office building with multiple businesses.

2. Identification signs let you know when you’ve arrived at your destination. These signs can identify the name of a building, the room number of a classroom, or the entrance to a state park.

3. Informational signs give pertinent information to customers about your business or location. Hours of operation, historical facts, maps, and special offers can all be used for informational signs.  They can also serve as warnings or how to access additional information.

4. Regulatory signs inform people of what is, and is not, allowed in your place of business. They should be visible to everyone so that there is no confusion of the rules you set in place. No smoking, pets allowed, and parking policies are a few examples.  Regulatory signs should have a short and simple message.

Effective Wayfinding and Directional Signs

How do you ensure that your directional signs are effective? When creating a wayfinding system, treat it as if it’s your customer’s first time visiting your company. Put yourself in their shoes as you walk through your building.  Here are some factors to consider for wayfinding and directional signs to be effective in showing people the way:

Visibility. They must be easy to read. Do not use fancy text or fonts. Even from a distance, pedestrians and motorists should be able to see what it says. Pay attention to spacing and the size of the text as they are important to ensuring that your directional signs are easy to read.

Location. The best locations for wayfinding signs are where most people will pass by. Large spaces such as college campuses, neighborhoods, parks, or a megachurch need signage at major intersections and entrances. Don’t forget to add wayfinding signage to staircases and exits. These are places where a visitor will decide about their direction of travel. 

Proper Use of Arrows. The whole purpose of a directional sign is to point people in the right direction. Arrows are commonly used to do just that.  If visitors need to find a lecture hall that is located after a bend, make sure that your arrow shows the right direction of the turn.

Use of Braille and Tactile Letters. Individuals with visual impairments need signs that contain braille or tactile letters to navigate their way through an environment.  Directional signs that are wall-mounted allows for people to reach and read them by touch.

Proper Finish. The text and background of your wayfinding signs should have a non-glare finish. This ensures that these signs do not reflect light, making them easier to read, especially to those with visual impairments. Non-glare finishes include eggshell or matte and are common in interior wayfinding. Exterior wayfinding signs may require a high intensity prismatic reflective finish for motorists navigating your space at night.

Uniformity. The shape and color of directional signs should complement the space or environment where they will be installed. Uniformity in directional signs helps decrease confusion and associate the sign with the location they need to go. This uniformity should apply to all signs so that visitors will not get confused or overlook the signs themselves. Think of icons on your desktop; these simple, intuitive images help guide you to applications at a glance.

Wayfinding Signage Applications

Wayfinding signs can be used in many places including:

  • Business Parks
  • Universities
  • Schools
  • Office Buildings
  • Retail Outlets
  • Hospitals
  • Medical Buildings
  • Theme Parks
  • Department Stores
  • Public Events
  • National Parks

Show Me the Way

Implementing wayfinding signage takes planning and a well-thought-out process.  Schlosser Signs can improve the navigation of your business or university.  Let us help you design brand new wayfinding signs to offer a better experience for your customers and visitors. Contact us today to discuss your signage needs.