Wayfinding Signs is not signage. It is so much more.
This post aims to outline the key elements that should be thought about to ensure that no one who actually uses the wayfinding system should end up getting lost!
Wayfinding and Wayfining Signs is about the way in which people can move efficiently and in harmony with the surrounding environment.
It is generally taken for granted that people are aware of their surroundings and can navigate easily from one place to another.
However, for an individual finding your way in often complex surroundings can be difficult.
Today’s wayfinding designer, therefore, needs to combine many disciplines – those of the artist, social scientist, environmentalist, architect, engineer, economist, computer scientist, project planner and marketing expert.
Design is not the continuation of specialisation, but the integration of specialities into a broader problem-solving role.
The success of a wayfinding systems is measured by how users experience an environment and how the communicative elements facilitate getting from point A to point B.
Wayfinding Signs should reassure users, create a welcoming and enjoyable environment and, ideally, provide answers to potential queries before users have to ask for assistance.
Wayfinding systems can also indicate where users should not go.
A successful Wayfinding system should provide information for users to:
– Establish the start point and conclusion of a route.
– Identify the user’s destination upon arrival
– Identify and orient the user’s current location within a building or an external space
– Reinforce that the user is travelling in the correct direction
– Help the user understand the location and identify any potential hazards within the space
The launch of a new wayfinding system is not the end of the challenge, but the beginning of an ongoing effort to constantly monitor the wayfinding system for accuracy and effectiveness.
The continual management of wayfinding components needs to include signage but may also include printed maps and information kiosks when appropriate.
When planning a wayfinding signage system the design team needs to allow for:
Often the design process includes architectural clues, graphic communication and tactile communication.
Lastly, remember that wayfinding is NOT JUST signage.
Signage is fundamental to wayfinding, but it will only ever deliver if it is part of an integrated wayfinding policy.
Don’t get lost.
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