We all need to go places, in fact, we probably all go to multiple places every day. Nothing then is worse, when it’s a new place and we have no idea how to get to where we need to go there. This is why wayfinding signs are important for any business or public place.
Wayfinding signs should clearly tell the people looking at them exactly what they need to know as simply as possible, without room for confusion and without excessive information. It’s equally important to be familiar with the layout of the area, knowing where signs need to be in order to create clear paths for the people following them. You don’t need signs every five feet but if a signs points left and after going left the path forks, you’d want another sign saying what’s down each side.
There are four types of Wayfinding signs: Informational, Directional, Identification, and Warning.
Information Wayfinding Signs
An informational wayfinding sign is clear indicator, such as a large signpole or door sign, that states where exactly you are in a location. These serve the function of letting an individual know if they’ve reached their destination and orient themselves to their location.
Directional Wayfinding Signs
Directional wayfinding signs are often what you see in a hotel or hospital, the signs that say rooms 1-5 are to the left and rooms 6-10 to the right. These are the signs you would want placed by major entrances (such as front doors and at elevator landings) and at junctures in the paths people travel to let them know which way to go.
Identification wayfinding signs might sound similar to informational signs because they serve a similar but different function. A building directory is a prime example of an identification sign as the purpose of all identification wayfinding signs is to communicate specific locations, such as where a certain doctor’s office is in big practice or which floors have ice machines in a hotel.
Warning Wayfinding Signs
Despite the name, warning wayfinding signs are not about guiding people to avoid hazardous areas. Rather, these signs are meant to inform people of restrictions or emergency functions an area has. Emergency exit only and fire escape route signs are common types of emergency wayfinding signs.