Everything You Need to Know About Wayfinding Signage
Wayfinding signage is both a practical and affordable part of brand building and a crucial element in your firm’s physical presence. Without a high-quality wayfinding signage strategy in place, you can’t be sure that you are providing each visitor (aka potential customers) with the best experience possible.
From its purpose to the essential communicative elements, how it is linked to brand identity and what wayfinding professionals can do for you, read on for everything you need to know about wayfinding signage.
1. What wayfinding signage is
Wayfinding signage works to guide individuals through a particular environment while aiming to improve their understanding and experience of the space. There are a variety of settings in which wayfinding signage is especially important – including urban centers, healthcare, and educational campuses.
However, as new environments and spaces become more complex, there is a greater need for maps, directions, and symbols. Together, these elements of wayfinding signage ensure that visitors are able to find their way to their intended destination. By having an effective wayfinding signage system, you are helping to bring a sense of safety and security to your environment.
Signage and wayfinding consultants in Dubai (and around the world) develop wayfinding signage systems to help people acquire “mental maps” of the area and simplify their routes as much as possible.
2. Effective wayfinding signage requires a combination of communicative elements
The best wayfinding systems usually blend a mixture of signage, maps, symbols, and colors to ensure clear communication. In the digital age, it is also becoming more common to see wayfinding signage integrate mobile applications, digital displays, and other wireless technologies.
Generally, there are five essential elements to be included in your wayfinding signage. These are user-friendly language, standardized signs (so that the system can grow as your requirements evolve), orientation cues, decision point locations, and appropriate lighting. However, the most important thing to remember is that simplicity is key when it comes to wayfinding signage.
That being said, in certain settings, reliance on text-based messaging decreases, and wayfinding signage systems utilize non-text cues such as symbols and colors. This is especially prevalent in areas where visitors may be under a lot of stress (such as healthcare-related buildings). Here, wayfinding systems that include easy-to-follow signage and distinct directions can help reduce visitor stress.
3. Your wayfinding signage should incorporate your brand identity
More than just welcoming a visitor to your space, the best wayfinding signage also introduces them to your brand identity. No matter what industry you operate in, where your space is located, or what style of signage you opt for (color-coded, minimal, gamified, etc.), the common thread is that you want your wayfinding signage to communicate your brand clearly.
Think of it this way; your brand’s image is dictated by customers who form that picture by combining all their experiences related to your business. Given that the purpose of wayfinding signage is to enhance the visitor experience, then it can show how these two aspects are linked.
Before you shrug your shoulders at the notion of brand identity, remember that branding is everything these days because it is a necessary element in developing and maintaining trust (which leads to customer loyalty and branding success).
4. It’s always best to bring in the professionals
The alternative to having a well-thought-out wayfinding strategy is annoyed visitors, bad publicity, and less or lost business. So, it is in everyone’s best interest for you to spend some time working on this aspect of your space.
Opt to work with a wayfinding signage company, as they will be able to design your wayfinding strategy to complement your brand identity. By bringing in their knowledge and making use of their expertise, you will be able to create a first impression that allows you to stand out from the competition.
Does your firm or building employ wayfinding signage? Why or why not?
Let us know your thoughts and any relevant experiences in the comments below!
Zak Zakaria is a Waymaker at dezigntechnic in Dubai who also previously worked as the company’s Graphic Designer and Art Director. Zak is a creative with work experience in multiple multinational agencies such as JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi. Signage design is a family business, making Zak’s personal experience with signage his longest professional commitment.