Regardless of whether you are organizing a small community or charity festival, sporting event, market or large corporate event, your wayfinding system is crucial to its success. Hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of people will need to navigate your event site. You need to make sure they do not miss important areas or timed demonstrations or shows — or worse still, become lost or frustrated.
A wayfinding system is a method of helping people orient themselves in an unfamiliar place — in this case, at an event. Typically and traditionally, wayfinding signage systems involve both maps and signs. A good system will keep visitors happy and safe. However, more and more event organizers are realizing the importance of using creative and innovative wayfinding systems to get their event, and their brand, noticed as well.
Read on to discover the basic professional principles of designing wayfinding signs for an event so that you can ensure its success.
Why do you need a wayfinding system?
Before you start to consider a wayfinding system for your event, it is important to reflect on its purpose. What do you want it to achieve?
Wayfinding systems can and should fulfill the following purpose:
- Help to escort people around a site efficiently and avoid congestion and bottlenecks. This can be very important for event safety.
- Aid understanding of the space so as to make visitors’ experiences more enjoyable and positive.
- Ensure that guests can easily be at the right place at the right time for timed events.
- Ease the strain on event staff who may otherwise be inundated by people asking for directions.
By helping to improve visitor experience, your wayfinding system can encourage guests to stay longer, visit more areas within the event, and thus spend more.
Quite simply, a wayfinding system can make or break an event. Without a well-designed system, you risk confusion and chaos. But with an effective one, your event can come across as streamlined, efficient and highly professional. This results in far greater profitability.
Wayfinding Basics: Create the Best Event Experiences
Here are three of the most important design principles used by professionals designing event wayfinding:
1. Aim for simplicity
Your wayfinding signs need to be very quickly understood by a range of individuals. If they can be read and understood without the need to stop walking, all the better.
So, aim for very few words on your signs. If you can, use a symbol or pictogram instead. Avoid visual noise, too, like highly decorative motifs, as these will likely cause distraction and slow the user down.
For wording, use a clear font that stands out and contrasts with its surroundings.
2. Know that location and placement is very important
Event organizers need to pay very close attention to the location of wayfinding signage. It needs to be placed in every spot where guests may need to change direction or make a navigational decision. So, this would include entrances and exits, junctions, or any point where a user could potentially become confused without wayfinding signs to help them find their way.
Note that maps alone are not likely to be sufficient. If there are no wayfinding signs in the key places listed above, bottlenecks will likely occur. People will slow down or stop as they check maps or ask for directions.
Don’t forget that the placement height of your wayfinding signs is important, too. Position them too high or too low, and they will slow people down. You don’t want them to be obscured by guests moving in front of them, either, or for the signs to cause a physical obstruction.
3. Always test the system
It’s highly recommended that you thoroughly test the wayfinding system before the event. The more people you can enlist to do this, the better. Don’t forget to represent all the different personas that may attend your event. For example, those who may have a physical impairment or those with little command of the native language should not be forgotten.
Do this in advance so that you still have time to make changes and hone your wayfinding system.
Professionally designed wayfinding systems for events
If your event budget allows, there is every reason to enlist professional help with your wayfinding system. By using signage and wayfinding consultants, the finished system will look attractive, sleek and professional, thus projecting the right image to your clients and guests.
Thanks to their vast experience in designing wayfinding for all kinds of events, the system will also work seamlessly well. These consultants can recommend a system that will ensure a smooth flow of people around the entire event. This will improve visitor experience and, in turn, vastly improve the profitability of your event.
Professional wayfinding designers are able to work with your existing branding and key message to design a bespoke system that is a perfect fit for both your business and the event. The results? A better event experience for your guests and better profitability for you.
Talk to our team today to learn more about how effective wayfinding systems can make your next event better.