Wayfinding signage, Wayfinding signs, Wayfinding system

What is the difference between signage and wayfinding?

Wayfinding is the way in which we orientate ourselves within the world and signage refers to the physical markers of visual communication. Wayfinding signage is the system in place to allow effortless navigation around physical spaces combining the two.

Whether it be internally or externally, if the questions of ‘Where is ‘X’?, or how do I get to ‘Y’? ever comes up then you have unmet wayfinding signage needs. 

Way finding signs serve 3 main purposes;

  1. Orientation – working out where you are right now in relation or landmarks and ultimately in relation to where you would like to be.
  2. Route decision – identifying the possible routes to take between two or more points – especially important when different routes may contain different obstacles or terrains that effect accessibility.
  3. Route monitoring – checking in along a route that you are maintaining the correct course. At any stage along a route where there are multiple choices of direction it is essential that reassuring route signage confirms the correct direction of travel.

Wayfinding systems refer to the full package of signage required to assist someone’s journey from one point to another. These systems should allow for effortless travel and user experience should be at the heart of all decisions made during the design process.

Brandingshould be consistent for easy identification of the next sign on the path, this is especially important in heavily built-up areas with a lot of different signage competing for visual attention. We achieve this across multiple different signage types through use of colour, fonts and style consistency.

Visibility of way finding signage is make or break in its success. Signs should be either linked physically through use of a path or floor marking directly influencing how a person should move in the space or be immediately visible from point to point so as someone can instantly identify the next point of information to aim for.

Signage size should be appropriate for the distance it’s being viewed from and unobstructed from any angle. We can create a range of signage to catch peoples eyes from large free standing signs with multiple locations and routes, custom shaped projecting signs to temporary lamppost signs for short term events.

We can ensure signage is visible under a variety of conditions through the use of LED lighting – internally illuminated signs and special effect vinyls such as reflective and fluorescent vinyls.  

Ikea famously use arrows projected on to the floor to aid navigation around the store, which not only prevents obstruction of visibility to their products using traditional signage styles but in a world of people glued to their phone it has worked out to be the ideal solution. We found vinyl floor stickers with anti skid lam were a huge hit during covid for this reason when directional signage was more important than ever.

Ensuring signage is accessible really is vital in todays world and there are a few key areas we can consider when designing these signs;

Language barriers – especially vital in big multicultural cities and travel hubs we can use simple iconography along with basic wording and clear fonts to ensure instruction is not lost in translation. This is also incredibly useful for children or people who may be illiterate.

Disability accessible signage comes in a huge variety of styles to meet the needs of different disabilities from braille and tactile signs for the visually impaired to considering signage position and font size to ensure it can be read from a lower height; by children or wheel chair users. Clearly marking physical accessibility on optional routes will also prevent frustrating and wasted trips to inaccessible areas. 

Wayfinding systems allow for us to combine a huge range of signage solutions into a visually cohesive package to ensure navigation to and around your site is simple and stress free whether it be to the terminal or the toilet.

Get in touch with our creative team today to explore all the incredible options we have to offer.