Liz Grinnell by

The Basics of Wayfinding Signs


Navigating through everyday life is a normal part of how we get from here to there. You are starting here, but how to you get over there? Your experience and perception when exploring a new building or outdoor event comes down to how easily you find your way. Imagine going into to Ikea and not having arrows on the floors or signs to show you where to go. You would be lost in a sea of many things–not always a bad thing!

So what is wayfinding signage? And is this something your need for your business or event? Let’s start with the basics.

The main goal of wayfinding signs (aka directional signage) is to inform people in a particular surrounding to help them get from point A to point B with ease! The main point is to not let anyone get lost in the process.

The basics of making effective wayfinding signage:

Make it easy! Make the message or direction clear and consistent, so your audience knows what to look for around each corner.

Less is more! Show them only the information needed to navigate their path to the right destination.

Clear visual! Simple images create a clear message to the viewer.

Let’s look at a few industries where wayfinding signage is an impactful and needed element in creating a successful overall experience.

Healthcare Whether it’s hospitals, clinics, or medical centers, consistent use of language, imagery, and messaging throughout the space can do more than tell visitors where they are, it can also tell the story of who they’re a part of. Signage gives patients and workers a simple and more direct way of arriving at their destination. Wayfinding signage should enhance the patient’s experience, not create more stress! You’ll consistently see the following signage in healthcare systems: directories, room markers, floor graphics, and wall acrylics. Imagine if you didn’t have any of this, and how much more difficult it would be for the end user.

Manufacturing In manufacturing settings there can be a lot going on at one time, so clear signage for clients and employees is a must! Many facilities will offer tours of their office, so having exterior signage to let people know what door to enter, or where to park, and then signs getting from the parking lot or garage to the right location is crucial. And then there’s safety signage on a manufacturing floor that informs and guides workers. Hardhat area signs, areas of production, safety tape, floor graphics, and wall graphics are ways to direct and inform.

Retail Wayfinding signage makes for easy and fast store navigation, which is important for buyers. Signage and imagery provide the opportunity for the buyer to see the product that they want, help to navigate them to the right section, and ultimately get you closer to making a sale. You should always make it easy and enticing for someone looking at your product.






So, when you’re looking at your own business, think about how wayfinding signage could work for you. What is it that you want your customer or employee to do or go, and what’s the easiest way to accomplish that task?