4 Types of Wayfinding Signs and How to Use Them for Your Business

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A wayfinding strategy is essential for any built space, from universities and office buildings to retail and transport networks.

As Dubai’s leading wayfinding signage consultancy firm, we understand that wayfinding is an important instrument in creating a stress-free environment and bringing about a desirable navigational experience.

Without wayfinding signage, buildings cannot function as efficiently as needed. Lacking space planning and other graphic communication elements makes it difficult for people to make their way through a designed space.

The importance of clear wayfinding signs

People who can easily navigate an unfamiliar place were able to reach their desired destination with the help of wayfinding. A well-designed wayfinding system will help solve the complex problem of getting visitors from Point A to Point B in the most efficient way possible.

Through creating a sense of space, business owners can build brand equity and deliver a more cohesive brand story while providing an organic guest experience. Regardless of your business and industry, wayfinding is necessary to improve your environment’s accessibility and safety.

If you’re ready to develop wayfinding solutions for your architectural project, below we highlight the different types of signage your business should consider.

1. Directional signs

Across every industry, from hospitality and healthcare to manufacturing, directional signage makes it easy for customers and employees to navigate their physical environment. The most common type of indoor signage, directional signs uses symbols such as arrows to point people in the right direction.

When implementing directional signage to your business, two factors must be considered: design elements and location.

If interior directional signage does not appear in the location people expect them to be, the opposite effect can occur. People can quickly become lost. Likewise, if the design elements are inappropriately sized, frustration can arise due to the sign’s illegibility.

To create an effective directional signage system, continuity is key. Visitors to the physical environment must be able to make key decisions between two points that enable them to continue on their journey.

Some great examples of directional signage include colored floor lines in hospitals to highlight different departments and junction route markers that highlight key points of interest such as exits, food courts, or restrooms.

2. Informative signs

Typically seen as placards, informational signage aims to inform users regarding the surrounding facilities. These wayfinding signs contain broad information that visitors need to make an informed decision. At the same time, they can also be used to confirm a location.

These signs must be understandable at a glance to allow visitors to identify the purpose of the facilities. They can supplement directional signage, providing useful information along the way. If a pathway is temporarily closed, information signage allows visitors to make or change their plans accordingly.

Information signage is critical in improving the customer experience which, in turn, builds consumer confidence.

Examples of informational signage that businesses can use for their building include:

  • Business information (Hours of operation, entrance prices, etc.)
  • Available amenities (free Wi-Fi, litter disposal, reception desk, etc.)
  • Facilities signage (exits, restrooms, “You are here” map displays, etc.)

3. Identification signs

Primarily used as wayfinding landmarks, identification signage is used by organizations to highlight when visitors have arrived at their desired destination.

Whether it’s an office space, educational institution, retail store, or any other establishment, these identifiers draw attention to a critical service or building feature that a visitor may require. These wayfinding signs can be as simple as a restroom placard or departmental markers.

Be that as it may, they all provide valuable information to the visitor.

A few more examples of identification signs could be:

  • Floor designations
  • Room names and numbers
  • Employee name and/or function
  • Municipal address
  • Building or company name
  • Landmark signage

Like informational signs, identification signage must be straight to the point. The information presented must be distilled in seconds and should highlight the surrounding landmarks of the building.

4. Safety and Regulatory signs

No matter the environment or facility, safety must always be a priority. Visitors must be aware of the established rules, regulations, and boundaries of any physical environment. To support this notion, safety and regulatory signage is necessary.

These wayfinding signs are embedded where safety standards must be reinforced. These signs prominently feature clear messages or warnings such as Caution! High Voltage, Employees Only, No Smoking, etc.

Such clear and concise messaging leaves no room for ambiguity so no rules are broken or safety warnings overlooked.

Safety and regulatory signage must be big and bold so they cannot be ignored. Typically, these types of signage use strong colors and bold text to emphasize their importance.

Design considerations of an effective wayfinding system

Each type of wayfinding signage above can be used by businesses of all sizes to produce a clear and effective wayfinding system.

Regulatory signs along with informational signage can set behavior expectations and keep visitors appraised of the boundaries of their surroundings. Directional and identification signage can create a more seamless user experience, allowing visitors to transition from point to point with ease.

When it comes to the actual design of a wayfinding system, signs must be appropriately sized and easily readable, and should incorporate universally recognized symbols. They must also be positioned high enough and in key areas of your building that have no clear traffic flow.

Successful wayfinding signs also properly convey the information they require.

Copy and imagery must be simple in design to ensure the message is communicated concisely to the visitor. Signage must also be scaled to their environment to maximize the probability of being noticed.

To further improve their impact, proper planning is necessary.

This ensures your built environment avoids unintentional signage cluttering which can distract from the decisions that must be made during navigation. Too many signs in a confined space can lead to elevated levels of stress and frustration.

Don’t ignore the signs

Incorporating a strategic and creative wayfinding program into the communication design process ensures visitors can easily and quickly locate their destination. Working with a full-service wayfinding design consultancy like DezignTechnic will enable your business to address the circulation challenges of your built environment.

Whether it’s a new or existing project, our design team will work closely with you to develop a strategic approach to deliver a design direction that perfectly complements your building’s overall aesthetic.

If you’re ready to learn more about implementing or improving a wayfinding signage system, get in touch today.

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