Signage and Wayfinding are terms that can seem a little strange or scary to use, but that ultimately are easy and present all around in our daily lives. As we established in our past article, Signage is a collection of signs and symbols used to convey a message and it is most often used with the purpose of Wayfinding, which is all the ways used for people to orient themselves and navigate in a physical space.
Now that we have established the basics, let talk about the four types used in Wayfinding signs: Identification, directional, informational, and regulatory.
Types of wayfinding signs
Identification signs are the most common and useful type of Signage. These signs communicate a person they have arrived at their destination. Identification signage should be precise and uncluttered, anyone should understand in seconds its meaning. In this category we can find Name and Door plaques (Manager, Executive Assistant, Architect), we also have Departmental markers (like Human Resources, Boys, Sportswear), and finally Landmarks (mostly Commemorative plaques, historical markers).
Directional signs help people to get where they are going, they show the correct way to get to a certain place. These signs are very diverse and can vary from arrows, lines on the floor, to written directions. The key to effective use of Directional signage is continuity, if a person gets lost or confused then this signage is invalidated. Some important examples are Junction signage (Right to Library, left to Customer Service), Colored lines (red for sales, orange for emergency exit), and Directory signage (Paediatry, 3rd Floor; Storage, B2).
Informational signs identify the basic and general points of a facility, contrary to Identification signs which mark a particular area. This signage should be placed in a place of exposure like lobbies and building entrances and they should be universally understood at a glance, for this reason, they make use of graphics and symbols established. Informational signage is meant to answer any question about the facilities for example Amenities and accommodations (elevators, free Wi-Fi), Facilities signage (Restrooms, Cafeteria), and Business Information (Address number, Hours of Operation).
Regulatory Signs establish and reinforce the rules and safety standards in any place. This signage is very important because it focuses on safety, liability, and boundaries. These signs are big, clear, bold, and concise, they should leave no room for ambiguity or question. Some important examples are Rules and Regulations (No pets, No Smoking), Compliance Standards (High Voltage), Access Control (Employees Only, No Entry).
As you can see Wayfinding Signage is important for the right function of any place and it can be easy to use once you have the knowledge to apply and combine it for effective use. Always remember to be clear, concise, and cohesive through your signage and you will have great functioning facilities.