Many of us take the ability to navigate through a building or other environment for granted — until the day we find ourselves turned around and frustrated by a lack of good wayfinding graphics inside a space.
January is International Wayfinding Month, an observance that highlights the importance of wayfinding information systems in today’s communities.
Wayfinding graphics are one of the primary services that Signature Graphics provides, a service built on more than 40 years of experience creating navigational tools that easy to understand and unique to your purpose and your brand.
Why Wayfinding Matters
Wayfinding is a set of tools — typically signs — that help a person navigate from point A to point B within a space. These tools are a must for your public spaces.
These graphics and signs are helpful in any environment and critical in large and complex spaces such as sports arenas, hospitals, school campuses, shopping centers and transportation hubs. Wayfinding helps people find their way around and as a result, makes people feel welcome, comfortable and safe.
It takes skill and experience to do that. To develop an effective wayfinding system, designers must be able to put themselves in the shoes of a visitor and translate complicated system of maps, floor plans and building directories into simple and straightforward instructions.
How to Put Together Successful Wayfinding
There are four key steps to creating an effective wayfinding system.
1. Determine Your Strategy: Wayfinding systems can include signage, maps, color-coding and symbols. Think about your space and the common ways people move through it. Then design a system that will best meet your visitors’ needs.
2. Focus on Navigation, Orientation and Landmarks: A wayfinding system must communicate these three basic things. People need to know how to move from point A to point B and be able to figure out where they are within the space while they do it. Good wayfinding also points out important landmarks around them.
3. Be Functional: The basic wayfinding signs have four purposes:
- Provide information
- Give directions
- Identify important spaces like restrooms, landmarks and entrances and exits
- Give warnings such as no parking or no smoking
4. Be True to Your Brand: Design wayfinding graphics and signs using your brand’s fonts, colors and symbols.
Wayfinding Must-Haves for Municipalities and Businesses
Communication builds good relationships with your community, and signage is a powerful way to share information.
Wayfinding systems must have simplicity, so directions and graphics are easy to understand at a glance. That means translating a complicated system of floor plans, office directories and maps into plain language and considering the way the public would naturally move through a space. This is imperative for both businesses and governments.
Wayfinding signs must use design elements from your brand as well because it will make your directions trustworthy.
When you need to go big, go big. Banners, streetlight banners and window films offer. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are sure to catch the eye of everyone who passes by or under them.
Window films can be applied on the interior or exterior sides and can be installed for short-term or long-term needs. As a bonus, window films can also provide a sense of privacy for an interior space.
Use Wayfinding to Create an Experience
Wayfinding is one component of environmental graphic design, which blends functionality with creativity to bring a space to life and put focus on your brand and messaging.
Wayfinding graphics make your space accessible to everyone and allow visitors and customers to move around with ease, finding what they’re looking for, discovering products and services they didn’t know they needed, or both. Good wayfinding encourages action and engagement!
Use Wayfinding to Make People Feel Safe
An effective wayfinding system, supported by high-quality and high-impact graphics, give visitors a sense of security within a space. That’s especially important when it comes to schools.
Educators can use clear and consistent wayfinding graphics and signs to support the school day. Signs can guide students, staff and families through the building and helping them orient themselves within the hallways. Color can be used to highlight safe zones, emergency exits or internal directional guidance so students always know how to get help if they need it.
Contact Signature with All Your Wayfinding Needs
Signature Graphics specializes in wayfinding graphic that work. No matter what sector you specialize in — business, education, entertainment, marketing agency or government — you deserve to work with a knowledgeable and professional partner you can trust.
Signature proudly uses quality 3M materials, and you have access to your projects 24/7 through brandRESPONSE, our highly customized project and asset management tool.
Let us pair you with an expert who can guide you through a wayfinding plan that is both useful and true to your unique brand. Contact us today to request your quote.