Wayfinding signs are all around us. While we have plenty of great technology to help us get from A to B such as the sat nav, once we get on foot it’s a different matter. Without proper signage directing us, most people would find it difficult to get around any museum, stadium, hotel or even a store.

Imagine being in the supermarket and not being able to find the pasta section. Signs not only direct us, they save us time too. Wayfinding signs are so prevalent that we hardly notice them. That is, until we actually need to find out where we’re going.

If you’ve ever looked up and not seen a helpful sign when you really need, you’ll recognise that feeling of slight panic and frustration.

Way finders cover a range of different types of signage. If you’re in a restaurant, you may see a simple directional sign pointing to the toilets. Visit any hospital and you’ll find several large blue panels with different departments listed and arrows directing you to those areas. A stadium may well have a large map with a pointer showing your current location.

The truth about wayfinding signs is that you don’t realise that you need one until you’re trying to find something. If your customer is feeling lost, they may well decide to shop elsewhere rather than ask for directions if you don’t have proper signage in place. They may get frustrated and even angry because they can’t find what they are looking for.

The bigger the business or organisation, the more wayfinding signage is needed. For many, this will be a variety of different types. You might, for example, want a large panel at the front of your business with important main locations and directions. Inside, you may have smaller signs on the walls or hanging from ceilings providing further information. Some may be directional, others instructional.

Tips for Getting Your Wayfinding Signage Right First Time

  • We advise you take a walk through your business and look at things from a new visitor’s point of view. Are things easy to find or would someone need to ask for directions? Is there continuity between signs that make them easy to follow?
  • The key is to keep things as simple as possible. Try to make sure that your directional messages keep to the point. The name of a department and an arrow, for example, should suffice for many signs.
  • It’s not always easy to match your signage with your brand but that should be your main aim. Particularly in large complexes, it helps people recognise your signage and makes them feel more assured while looking for their destination.
  • Consistency is also key. Keep the same wording throughout. Simply changing the word ‘room’ to ‘facility’ may confuse people, for example.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to review your wayfinding signage at regular intervals. Sections and offices change around and you need to make sure you update your signs accordingly. The last thing you want to do is start sending people the wrong way.

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