When you find yourself visiting a large facility for the very first time and you are looking to identify a destination within it, the very first thing you are likely to do is to approach available signage.
After all, you may need to locate where the elevators are, what areas are for authorized personnel only, and more pertinent information. The signs scattered around buildings will give you the kind of contextual information you will need in order to identify where things are and help you get where you need to go. Without having accurate and easily identified wayfinding signage, you would likely find yourself walking around in circles aimlessly trying to figure out where a specific store or office is.
That being said, just because a building has specific signage in place doesn’t inherently make it useful. There are plenty of things that can detract from the usefulness of the signage. For one, if it isn’t easily spotted or identifiable or if the continuity between the signs isn’t there, signage can end up making your visit a lot more confusing than it had to be. Having wayfinding signage systems in place that are prominently displayed and properly defined is crucial. Here are some of the tips that you should be following to optimize your wayfinding signage system.
1. Make The Message Bold
One of the first things you should be doing is making your wayfinding signage system bold. Having ambiguous wayfinding signage is a no-no. Those who visit will want a clearly defined and unambiguous message that there is only one interpretation. For instance, the bathrooms are located on your first right. The company “ABC” is located on the 5th floor. These things need to be clearly defined and well-intentioned. The messaging on the signage should be as bold as possible for it to be effective. You want to keep this in mind when designing it. Everyone is already looking for the message. You want your sign to give them confirmation that they are in the right place and to confirm what they already know.
2. Maintain A Clear Line Of Sight
Unfortunately, any sign that isn’t easily visible is one that is useless. No one is going to know the Accounting department can be reached down the hall if the sign is being blocked by a plant. Likewise, if there is overhead signage that is parallel to the actual direction of the flow of traffic, no one is going to see them until they have actually walked past them. Thus, the line of sight must be considered when it comes down to finding the optimal placement for them. You want to place them where they would experience the most visibility and when they would derive the greatest benefit. For instance, if people will have to turn a corner, you want to place the directional signs at the point where they will be making the decision. At the same time, you want to place a directory sign in the lobby where people will be beginning their journey throughout your building. Using your common sense when pinpointing the right location for your signage is key. Consider how they will be interacting with and interpreting your signs to figure out the optimal placement for each.
3. Be Informative
Your sign will need to accurately display all of the information that is needed in very few words. You don’t want to confuse the person looking at the sign and you want to provide all of the information they need. For instance, having a sign that says “Sales, 2” with a picture that has stairs on it with an arrow that is pointing to the left would display clear information and meaning and it can’t be interpreted the wrong way. It dictates that the Sales department can be found on the 2nd floor and that it can be easily accessed by going up the stairs to the left. It is very simple, yet very effective.
4. Staggering Your Signage
Having too much signage can be just as bad (if not worse) than having too little. You want to ensure that you aren’t mixing people up and giving too much direction as it could confuse the person you are trying to guide. To avoid doing this, simply stagger your signage to make the directions easy to follow and unambiguous.
5. Make It Distinguishable
You don’t want to allow the signage to blend into the surroundings. You want to try to test out different colors and lighting to ensure that it is easily distinguishable in the environment you are placing it in. Factor in the contrast of colours when determining optimal colours for your signage.
The best and easiest way to ensure that people are using your wayfinding system with ease is by placing it directly in front of them. You want to ensure that it is one of the first things they are looking at when they enter your building. By displaying the right type of signage throughout your building, you can improve the effectiveness of your entire wayfinding system and make your building much easier to navigate as a whole.