Businesses often overlook wayfinding signage, and thinking about it is only a less significant display sign. However, a wayfinding map plays a vital role in people’s everyday lives, especially those city dwellers. It can help people find the dairy product section in a grocery store. A digital wayfinding map can help young professionals find their way in the labyrinth of streets and roads in a busy business district.
What is Wayfinding Design?
Wayfinding design can be considered an art of composing shapes and colors to present information that allows people to find their way in a foreign environment.
Progress has transformed cities and urban town centers into complex environments. Hence, getting from one place to another becomes a challenging endeavor. Without any sign or assistance from a wayfinding map, people can get lost in a sea of skyscrapers and commercial establishments.
But thanks to signage, it provides people with visual cues to get to their desired destination. People fail to notice that a digital wayfinding tool makes visiting public places such as business centers, hospitals, and transportation hubs a pleasant experience.
Types of Wayfinding Designs
There are several types of wayfinding designs which are based on their usage and functions.
It provides people with vital information about a place or establishments like where one finds the toilet or the dunny. It gives a general statement about that place or an establishment like the amenities, facilities, and business information. Examples of this signage are free Wi-Fi, business operating hours, and finding the exit, the lift, or the tuck shop area. It is usually found in the entrances, lobbies, or atriums, which are the first area visitors will enter a place or building.
It is signage that gives people the correct direction to get to where they want to go. It is akin to an invisible trail that guides people to their destination. Continuity is one of the qualities of directional signage because it is beneficial in an intersection of several areas wherein people will come and go from different directions. Junction signage is an excellent example. It provides where to go, like left to the toilet or right to the elevated parking lot. Another example is the colored lines on the floor like follow the red lines to get to the train platform or yellow lines to get to the bus hub. Directory signage is also directional signage, guiding people to get to the Marketing Department or Sales Department.
As with its name, it is signage that controls where people should go and what they can do. It is used to enforce rules and regulations. One example of this signage is the “no pets allowed” or “no smoking” sign. It is also used to implement safety standards like a “high voltage” signage. A sign that limits access to a particular area is classified as regulatory signage such as men’s or women’s toilet signs, authorized personnel only signs, or no entry sign.
It is a type of signage that gives information about a location or an individual. It is a marker that helps identify that the General Manager occupies a particular room. Another example is department markers that recognize that it is the Finance Department or the Marketing Department. Room number signs are another excellent example of identification signage. Imagine a hotel with no room number signage; people will have difficulty locating their accommodation room.
How Does a Wayfinding Design Work?
Few people notice that any signage’s efficiency gives a stress-free experience when going to commercial buildings, airports, or train stations. Easy-to-follow makes it easier for people to find the room or area they are looking for or going to a particular place.
A good wayfinding design can help people develop a mental map of the environment they are traversing. The signage assists people in marking a specific area or placing mentally and remembering it.
Likewise, it provides people with a sense of orientation because it makes it easier for people to understand the place they are visiting. It makes people aware that they are in point A and point B is on the other side of that area.
People are unaware that wayfinding signage serves as a navigation system to guide them to another location. It is like a compass that directs people to the path towards a destination.
How to Create a Signage Plan?
Signage might be unnoticeable fixtures in a place or an establishment. But it needs careful planning to make it useful and create a better navigating experience for people.
- Observe and understand how people maneuver in a place or an establishment to determine the kind of signage needed.
- Make signage that contains universally understandable information.
- Do not make signage complicated by making it easy to read and understand.
- Only put relevant information in the signage and remove unnecessary details.
- Patterns, color schemes, and content must have visual harmony.
Best Signage Plan for Businesses
Putting signage in a business establishment might be tricky. It must be in a conspicuous and strategic area. Entrepreneurs can adopt these guidelines in planning where to put any sign.
Make it distinguishable so people can differentiate one area from another. A good example is the color scheme for men’s and women’s toilets. It will help people associate that color with a particular site.
Maximize the use of existing landmarks. As they said, do not reinvent the wheel. Existing landmarks are excellent orientation tools. Businesses can incorporate landmarks in their signage planning.
Refrain from providing so many navigation options. It can complicate the information about navigation in a place.
Put signage in decision-making areas. It will assist people in deciding if they want to go to the restaurant area or movie theaters.
Consider the typeface, patterns, and color scheme of the signage. It must be noticeable and pleasant to read.
Wayfinding signage remains mostly unnoticed by people and does not appreciate its value in everyone’s daily lives. It is more a set of symbols or words but rather a navigation tool that helps people go through a complex environment with ease and hassle-free.
This signage might look simple, but there is a complicated process in making the right blend of color, pattern, and words to create a useful navigation tool. It is more than signage but a masterpiece that can convey direction and information in a few words or just symbols. It is a simple concept, yet a complicated process.
Its role may have gone unnoticed, but no one can deny that signage makes the complex environment less complicated to comprehend. It will guide people through transportation hubs, urban centers, airports, and healthcare facilities. Hence, it is essential to make wayfinding signage that is cohesive, easy to follow, and pleasant to the eyes.