Wayfinding / Directional Signs

How to Create an Effective Wayfinding System

Author: Jayme Nelson

Wayfinding is a universal need. From the moment someone arrives at your facility or property, until the moment they leave, directional signs and graphics have the ability to make or break a visitor's experience. Effective wayfinding signage helps create a more productive, organized navigation experience, getting people where they want to go quickly and safely. Keep these recommendations in mind when evaluating your directional signs.

Keep it Simple

Simplicity in design encourages readability. Focus on the most important information in a clear and concise fashion. If you need to convey more information than what comfortably fits on your directional signs, digital signs can help. From digital directories to interactive maps, digital signs allow message flexibility and can easily inform employees of meeting room changes, direct guests unsure of where to go to the proper elevator, or display a floor plan to hurried shoppers looking for a particular location. Digital wayfinding signs can also feature engaging content about your company or brand in the process.

wayfinding signs 

Extend Your Brand

Functionality is the ultimate purpose for all wayfinding and directional signage programs. When designing wayfinding signs, keep the audience and the environment in mind to ensure success in guiding people where they need to go. That doesn’t mean your signs and graphics should be stale. Balance the need for function with graphic elements that reinforce your unique branding. Integrate the colors, fonts and designs that represent your organization’s brand to make sure that the signs do their job with visual consistency to reinforce your organization’s branding.

wayfinding sign 

Location is Key

Place wayfinding signs and graphics where they are most likely to be useful, especially in high-traffic areas where there is more than one way to go. For large campuses and organizations with multiple buildings, consider color-coding by department and utilizing easy-to-read map displays. To meet different audiences where they are symbols and pictograms are also helpful to bridge any potential language barriers.

directions signmap


Incorporate Creativity

Directional signs don’t have to be boring to be effective. Incorporate the wayfinding signage tips provided here and add a little creativity to your signs. Show off your brand personality and make the most of your space by using available surfaces. From large blank walls and office windows, to breakroom floors and even elevator doors, take advantage of the architectural features in your building when planning out your wayfinding elements. Regardless of how small or large the space, directional signs and graphics can be seamlessly incorporated into the decor.

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It all comes down to fulfilling a simple and basic need we all have: getting where we need to go. Make it easier with these directional sign tips and improve satisfaction, safety and efficiency—all while looking great in the process.