Designing Effective Wayfinding Signage: 7 Best Practices and Tips

Posted By  
| 17 Jul 2023
Designing effective wayfinding signage: 7 best practices and tips

Everyone wants to get from A to B as efficiently as possible. Similarly, quickly finding your destination is infinitely preferable to getting hopelessly lost. This reason is valid whether you’re an employee in a new office, a shopping mall customer, or a convention centre visitor.

Wayfinding signage helps people get where they need to go without confusion or mishap. Consequently, every business and organization should invest in clear, effective wayfinding signage. Here are seven best practices and tips for designing wayfinding signage:

What is Wayfinding Signage?

Wayfinding signage refers to the physical signs and markers that help people navigate an area. Whether it’s an airport, a convention centre, or an office, wayfinding signage is vital in helping people get where they need to go. Effective signage ensures visitors, customers, and employees can safely and efficiently navigate a property.

Plus, no one likes getting lost!

The Four Types of Wayfinding Signage

There are four main types of wayfinding signage:

  1. Directional signs: Show people how to get to a desired location.
  2. Identification signs: Tell people where they are (i.e. restroom signs).
  3. Informational signs: Convey essential information (i.e. warning signs).
  4. Regulatory signs: Inform visitors of specific rules (i.e. no parking).

Why is wayfinding signage important?

Wayfinding signage is essential for good customer service and creating a positive visitor experience. It’s also crucial for customer and employee safety. Customers, employees, and visitors should be able to navigate your property quickly, easily, and seamlessly. Wayfinding signage makes this possible.

Without it, visitors can quickly become annoyed and frustrated with your business. After all, getting lost or being unable to find your destination is incredibly annoying.

It would be best to double-check that all wayfinding signage is accurate and pointing customers in the right direction.

Wayfinding signage is also essential for safety. Directional signs can point to emergency exits and evacuation routes.

Additionally, effective wayfinding signage contributes to employee productivity. If employees get lost consistently, that takes away from their working time. Getting lost is a complete waste of your employee’s valuable time. Effective wayfinding signage helps to create a more productive and organized work environment.

7 Tips for Effective Wayfinding Signage

1. It Should be Easy to Understand

Wayfinding signage needs to be simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. You should present the essential information simply and concisely. An overly complicated design can compromise readability, thus negating the benefit of wayfinding signage.

A clean and straightforward design is the best way to convey essential information to visitors. They should be able to take in all the necessary details with a glance. Small text sizes, ornate fonts, and convoluted messaging can confuse (and annoy) visitors.

2. Establish a Naming System

A naming system can help visitors navigate your space, especially regarding large complexes and properties. Long sets of numbers or unclear labelling can confuse visitors, ruining their experience and creating intense feelings of frustration.

You may get away with not having a naming system if your building is exceptionally small, but this differs from big buildings or complexes. If you’re developing signage at scale, you need a system that is well thought out.

3. Futureproof Your Signage

Can your wayfinding signage accommodate changes to your property? For example, is it easy to update your signage if you add new buildings to your complex? Or renovate your existing office?

When developing your signage system, consider how you would add new buildings, landmarks, or destinations. Any new signage should match your existing signs. If this isn’t possible, consider replacing all the signs on your property with a new, consistent system. Unfortunately, this can be expensive.

A thoughtfully designed naming system can spare you this hefty expense. It can play a crucial role in futureproofing your signage.

4. Keep Signage Consistent

Wayfinding signage should be consistent in appearance throughout your property. The design, fonts, size, and symbols should look the same regardless of where a visitor is in your complex. This continuity helps to eliminate confusion. Remember, the most effective wayfinding signage is recognizable even at a glance.

5. Place in Key Locations

Wayfinding signage is most effective when placed in key locations where they are most likely to be used. For example, high-traffic areas are some of the best places for wayfinding signage.

Visitors want to find their destinations as effortlessly as possible. They don’t want to waste time (and patience) searching. Similarly, visitors shouldn’t have to hunt for wayfinding signage. It should be readily available where they need it most.

6. Incorporate Your Brand

Your wayfinding signage should be simple and highly readable. However, these signs can still incorporate your business’s branding. You can seamlessly integrate your brand’s colours, fonts, designs, and logos into your signage. This consistency further reinforces your company’s branding while directing customers where to go.

7. Understand the Deeds of Your Visitors or Customers

Lastly, your wayfinding signage should consider your visitors’ needs. Consider what information is most valuable to your customers and the best way to deliver that information.

For example, shopping malls may include major retailers on their wayfinding signage to help shoppers. They should also have signage for washrooms, ATMs, and public transit.

Consider your customers and visitors when designing the appearance of wayfinding signage. You should use a larger font on the signs if your clients are seniors as well.

Contact New Style Signs for Wayfinding Signage

We have over 50 years of experience developing effective directional and wayfinding signage for businesses and facilities at New Style Signs. Our professional signage systems help your visitors and customers effortlessly navigate your property. Contact us today to learn about our wide range of innovative signage solutions.

To learn more about wayfinding signage, call New Style Signs at 866-591-6938 or contact us here.

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