wayfinding signage

The Essential Principles of Effective Wayfinding Signage and How to Utilize Them

By Zak Zakaria

Whether you are a building consultant, architect, property developer, or an independent owner and developer who has private buildings or resorts, it is in your best interest to get familiar with the best practices regarding effective wayfinding signage. After all, it is necessary for a functioning space, it helps you to build a strong brand image, and it demonstrates your company’s commitment to communication.

The primary purpose of effective wayfinding signage is to help visitors get where they want to go as quickly and as smoothly as possible which, in turn, leads to increased sales and more satisfied clients.

To learn more, here are the three essential principles of effective wayfinding signage and how to utilize them.

Maps are at the heart of effective wayfinding signage.

When it comes to the basics of effective wayfinding signage, it is vital to recognize the importance and power that maps have. In most wayfinding schemes, maps are employed to designate an individual’s location as well as show them what else is around.

By using maps in your wayfinding strategy, you are implementing an effective way of overseeing the built environment and communicating the options of routes to a visitor. However, you want to resist providing too many options for reaching various spots. Instead, simply ensure that the navigator can quickly and effortlessly comprehend how to get where they need to go and make it as unlikely as possible that they will wind up getting lost.

If you are going to have maps in your property development, you want to ensure that you are showing the maps heads-up in the direction that an individual looking at it would be facing. Otherwise, visitors won’t be able to relate themselves to the built environment quickly. In some spaces, it may be best to provide a map reader with the distance and time that separates one place from another.

The environment informs the wayfinding signage strategy.

When creating a wayfinding system, it is imperative to consider the orientation and navigation, as well as the landmarks that surround the area, to ensure that you are creating a scheme that works with the way individuals naturally navigate an environment. Landmarks (such as art objects, buildings, street art, wayfinding signs or striking elements in the landscape) are often used to distinguish particular spaces or locations and to mold the identity of an area.

Therefore, before committing to a wayfinding signage strategy for a new area, property or architectural structure, it is imperative that you develop a strategic, modular scheme that can be adjusted to the developing environment and the changing human expectations concerning familiarization and navigation.

As the specific environment informs the wayfinding signage strategy, each property and development is going to have different wayfinding needs. In fact, even the systems themselves can manifest in myriad forms, including signs, maps, digital touch-screen devices, and colored lines.

Only the necessary information is presented.

One of the essential principles of high-quality wayfinding signage is that only information that is necessary and relevant to the location is presented and any excessive information or unnecessary elements are removed. This ensures that a clear and understandable environment is produced and not one that is overwhelming to the visitor.

In other words, careful attention needs to be paid to ensuring that the information that is provided is balanced and focused.

When you are including wayfinding signage in your property, you want to ensure that you are generating a comprehensive yet succinct and uniform visual communication system. To help the navigator find their intended location as easy and quickly as possible, install wayfaring signs in decision-making points. In other words, at any point, if there are multiple ways to continue, you need to have the appropriate signage installed to assist with the decision-making process.

In addition to only presenting the necessary information on signs and maps, it is crucial to include only routes that are well-structured and straightforward to follow. Courses that are included in the wayfinding strategy should be continuous in design and have a definite start, middle, and end point to help verify progress for the visitor.

Does your property development or building utilize wayfinding signage? If so, what have you noticed makes or breaks the system? If you don’t currently use wayfinding signage, are you considering adding it? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos
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Zak Zakaria on Linkedin
Zak Zakaria
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.

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