You may have heard that we are now living in the age of big data. There are many who believe, with a considerable amount of justification, that with data we can solve just about any problem and learn more about anything and anybody. You may have heard about how big data is changing everything from dating to investing to fantasy football. And it is also starting to have an affect on signage. Let us look at some of the conclusions that have been drawn from this data that have recently been published by the Sign Research Foundation.
The report we will be looking at today focuses on wayfinding signage. Wayfinding signage is pretty much what it sounds like: signs that help you navigate a retail, business, or otherwise public location. Examples of wayfinding signs include: “Exit This Way ->”, “Restrooms Downstairs”, or “Aisle 3 Paper Towels, Bathroom Tissue, Napkins”, etc.
Attributes of effective wayfinding signage in retail environments
Signs are no longer disregarded afterthoughts of retail and business locations. With the notion of a positive and cohesive customer experience being more important to businesses than ever, effective wayfinding signage could be a vital investment for your business. Here are some key things to keep in mind when trying to implement effective wayfinding signage:
- Legibility: Both properly sized and colored fonts as well as viewing angles must be considered. Stores are increasingly using modeling software to analyze viewing corridors.
- Dimensionality: Hitherto external sign methods are working their way indoors, such as channel letters, projecting signs, and awnings.
- Modularity and material quality: Modular sign systems have always been an integral part of store signage, but are now sometimes linked to store merchandise fixtures, even becoming part of the same system.
- Illumination: New LED technologies have opened up a vast array of lighting methods.
What else to consider
Signage alone cannot always create effective wayfinding all by itself. Successful navigation requires combining architecture and display to create complete environments that both direct and inform. Some things to consider:
- Window and visual displays: You can use themed displays to entice visitors into stores, serve as landmarks and promote specific sales.
- Visual merchandising: Macro-level signs identify key areas of the store and are relatively fixed. Point-of-Purchase and promotion signs are flexible and adaptable to the environment.
- Marketing and promotion: Using high-quality, large format printing, you can turn promotion into part of the wayfinding process through large-scale marketing materials integrated into light boxes, fixtures and window design.
- Branded environments: In retail locations, the combination of signage, branding, and architecture has resulted in stores that share design attributes from other institutions, such as airports, offices, and residences. Wayfinding signs in this environment often have greater permanence and are closely integrated with their interiors.
- Digital wayfinding: Digital systems are becoming increasingly popular in in-store networks, especially for content-intensive retail categories, for example, electronics and communications. It stands to reason that the next step in this progression involved interactive content, which would be affected and informed by customer behaviors and purchases. Many retailers believe that responsive content will allow them to truly realize the value of digital investment.
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To get high quality wayfinding signage for your retail business, or if you have any questions about how to best craft your wayfinding signs, please do not hesitate to contact us today.