Navigation from place to place is an integral part of everyday life as well as being a fundamental human activity. People depend on their previous experiences and knowledge to find their way in the built environment. However, in new spaces, people need guidance to reach their destination accurately. This is where the wayfinding signs help us.
A Wayfinding sign refers to an information system which directs individuals through a physical environment improving their experience and understanding of the space. So, we can say that Wayfinding design is the comprehensive procedure of designing signals to familiarize people and assist them to navigate in a physical space, whether on foot or in a vehicle.
Why Are WayFinding Signs Important?
Signs are a prominent communication tool, and a well-executed design helps people effectively and efficiently get to their intended destinations without any trouble. Messages presented on the wayfinding signage reduce a person’s natural confusion when navigating through the new and unfamiliar facility and allow them to reach from point A to point B effectively. Wayfinding signage improves accessibility, efficiency, and safety.
In any business, these signs are significant as they enable the customers and employees to navigate through even the most confusing spaces with a sense of confidence, safety, and security.
It is predominantly vital in complex built environments such as educational campuses, urban centers, and healthcare and transportation facilities. With time, architectural environments are becoming more complicated. Therefore, people need optical cues such as directions, maps, and symbols to help direct them to their destinations.
In urban settings, wayfinding signage and information systems are critical for both pedestrians and motorists to ease their navigation through streets and roadways. These information systems assist people in constructing mental maps of the environment and simplifying their courses as much as possible.
Process of Defining WayFinding Signs
When it comes to defining Wayfinding signs, we must make it clear that wayfinding signage encompasses several different types of signage. These include:
Directional signs point the way to different locations. These usually appear at junctions or along a route to direct the way to a specific place. Located on several strategic points in the built environment, the signs can be complex or straightforward.
Identification signs identify an individual location. These signs display directions to a specific building or public facility and also may recognize the name of a building. Many times these include eye-catching monument symbols to mark the entrances to shopping centers, hospital facilities, corporate centers, and entertainment facilities.
Informational signs provide useful information about a location. These include historical facts, occupants, or whether Wi-Fi is available among others. Museum signage and donor recognition signs also come under the umbrella of information signs.
Regulatory/ Warning signs inform people about what they can and cannot do in a space. They also indicate safety procedure as well as ensuring it. Signs that display fire escape routes, safety hazards, no smoking areas, speed limit, and other regulations are included in this category and also include OSHA and ADA regulatory signs.
What Does a Good Way Finding Design Involves?
The process of designing wayfinding signage is a combination of art, craft, and psychology. It also involves color, architecture, lighting, typography, and a range of other elements.
When designing wayfinding signage for an area, building, or architectural structure, it is vital to construct a strategic wayfinding scheme. It allows us to build up a modular wayfinding system that will acclimate to the built environment and the public expectations for navigation and orientation purposes.
A good wayfinding design always
- Constructs a comprehensive, consistent, and clear visual communication system carrying a concise message.
- Does not make the viewers think.
- Displays only what is required and does not contain any excessive information.
- Displays information relevant to the location and/or navigation route.
- Constructs a clear visual cue for the environment ahead.
- Never displays too much information into one sign as it will be easily overlooked, thus use multiple signs to ensure good wayfinding results.
Psychology Behind WayFinding Signboards
When it comes to the psychology behind signboards, the elements of color, fonts, typography, and height are of the essence. The design must be consistent in type height, typography, icons, color, grid design, and material used.
Another important thing is to always use the same order of displaying the information. It is essential because people need simple visual cues to guide them and the same order of information makes them recognize the sign as wayfinding as they take a single look at the signboard.
The wayfinding signs need to be straight forward designed and in a constant order to wayfinding scheme. It must be easy to read so that people can understand the message clearly. It is a critical factor in order to make a wayfinding system work. A sans-serif typeface is available in various weights. It is a simple easy-to-read straightforward design and has good legibility with a large X-Height and broad letter sizes with noticeable ascenders/descenders to guarantee good readability. There must be a positive letter spacing to increase the visual appearance.