How to achieve good wayfinding signage?

Navigation from place to place is a fundamental human activity and an integral part of everyday life. Where are you? Where is it you are going? How do you get back? People use their knowledge and previous experiences to find their way in the built environment. To understand how to achieve good wayfinding signage you must first understand the basics.

Wayfinding Basics

Wayfinding informs people of the surroundings in an unfamiliar environment. It is necessary to display cues at strategic points to guide people in the right directions. An effective wayfinding system is based on human behavior and consists of the following characteristics:

- It must be simple
Create a comprehensive, clear and consistent visual communication system with concise messaging.

- Show only what is needed
Show information only relevant to the space, location and / or navigation path.

- Remove excessive information
Remove unnecessary elements to create a clear visual environment ahead.

How does wayfinding work?

It might sound simple, but there’s probably a lot more to wayfinding than you realise. When creating a wayfinding scheme the following characteristics influences the way we interpreted the build environment.

- Marking elements
To create a memorable environment is it necessary to mark specific spaces and / or locations. This reinforces the recognition of places.

- Orientation
If you are able to orientate yourself within the build environment, it will be easier to understand destinations and to navigate by marking elements.

- Navigation
With the use of directional static signs people will be able to navigate through a particular area along their path towards destinations.

Signage Design Basics

In basics there are four important type of signs: Information signs, for instance a signpole to locate a destination and / or to orientate yourself in the build environment. Directional signs, where information is displayed to find destinations, located on several strategic points in the build environment. Identification signs, where information about individual locations is displayed such as buildings, locations and public facilities.Warning signs, to indicate safety procedures such as a fire escape routes, no smoking areas and other regulations that is, or is not allowed in a specific area.

It is important to consider that if a building is littered with signs this can often be counter intuitive. Poorly conceived wayfinding actually hinders and confuses, while on an aesthetic level it’s important to complement the architecture.

Should you require any further guidance on wayfinding or if you would like a free quote on a project please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01909 472922.


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