Wayfinding signage is the primary means of navigating unfamiliar places, like airports, parking lots, and hotels. Whenever you travel, signage is the constant guide to help you find your way. And there are four main types of wayfinding signs that are designed to convey instructional and directional information to passersby.
Learn everything you need to know about wayfinding signs for your business or organization’s building. Find out how signs are used all over the place to help with conveying identifications, directions, regulatory information, and other types of information. And, discover how this type of signage is integral to your everyday life in almost every environment.
Types of Wayfinding Signage: Everything You Need to Know
The purpose of wayfinding signage is to convey helpful and vital information to users of an area. For example, how do you know which restroom is for men and which is for women? Signage is the most effective way to help people navigate the space around them in a systematic and organized fashion.
To this end, there are 4 categories of wayfinding: identification, regulatory, informational, and directional wayfinding. These categories encompass all the signage that conveys critical information – from highway exit signs to the plaque on an office door. The effective utilization of a space is only possible with the purposeful implementation of wayfinding signage.
Signs that identify the designation of a destination are known as identification signs. When you are in the supermarket and need to find the produce section, identification signage is displayed at each aisle. Or, the door plaque designating the office for the Director of Marketing and Sales or the CEO is an identification sign.
Identifying signage indicates specific designations, such as the title of a position or name. Or, they can identify a broader subject, such as a specific department of a business. And, identification signage includes landmark indications, such as historical landmark plaques.
A directional wayfinding sign assists you in navigation. You encounter and utilize directional signage whenever you drive on the highway or navigate your way through a hotel or shopping mall. Whereas identification signs tell you where you are, directional signage tells you how to get where you want to go.
Directional signage is designed to help people in transit, so the key to effective utilization is clarity and consistency. For example, directional arrows can help pedestrian traffic through busy airports and convention centers by providing clear and consistent floor signs that indicate the direction of foot travel. Another common area to use directional signage is at junction points where travelers need to decide as to which direction will lead to their destination. For example, a school might have a sign on the wall that says, “Go Left to Cafeteria” and “Go Right to the Library.”
Informational signage is vital for giving you broad information about the area in which you are navigating. For example, information wayfinding signage might be a large sign in the lobby of an office building that informs you as to the businesses on each floor. Once you get to the floor, directional signage helps you find your way to the right offices.
Another common form of informational signage is a building’s operational hours or general symbols that indicate universal information. Some examples of this are signage that indicates free Wifi connection, exit signs, and business address plaques. Other information, such as “no shirt, no shoes, no service,” is considered regulatory signage.
Regulatory signage is designed for liability’s sake, as well as ensuring safe navigation. These wayfinding signs help to mitigate accidents and dangerous situations that may arise. Some examples of regulatory signage are speed limit signs along the road, and signs delineating areas of hazard, such as “Danger! High Voltage!” Or, it might be as simple as, “No Dogs Allowed.”
How to Utilize Wayfinding Signs
The best way to make use of wayfinding signs is to use all four types in strategic combinations. Directional signs can reinforce the designation of restricted areas that are identified by regulatory signs. And, likewise, identification signs should be visually reinforced by references in directional and informational signage. Talk to a US Signcrafters associate for a free consultation on the best practice for combining wayfinding signage in your facility.