The Purpose of Wayfinding Signage

When you walk into your place of business, you take for granted that you know where you’re going. You’re there pretty much every day, presumably. You don’t have think about finding the right floor, finding your office, or finding the restrooms. But your customers and clients may not know these things. They need signs to point them in the right direction.

Think of all the times that you entered a new and unfamiliar building. Maybe the first time you went to a DMV, or a doctor’s office. It can be intimidating. Especially for shy or inexperienced people. And this especially true of people coming to your business for the first time. Do you really want to lose potential customers because they can’t find their way around your business? Because there was nobody to ask or because they didn’t feel comfortable asking? Of course not. That’s why you need to do the best job you can with wayfinding signage to ensure you don’t lose any shy or confused customers.

Wayfinding signage

The purpose of wayfinding signage is to get a visitor from where they are to where they need to be (to help them find their way) with the least amount of stress possible.  Wayfinding signs do not need to attract attention in the same way that safety signs do. And they don’t need to be pieces of art the way murals or lobby signage can or should be. It is perfectly acceptable for wayfinding signs to blend with the décor, to be unobtrusive, and to be a part of the whole.

Wayfinding systems

An effective wayfinding system is based on human behavior and should consist of the following characteristics:

  • Do not make people think too much.
  • Create a comprehensive, clear, and consistent visual communication system with concise messaging.
  • Show only what is needed.
  • Show information that relevant is to the space, location, and/or navigation path.
  • Remove any excessive information.
  • Remove unnecessary elements to create a clear visual environment ahead.

Use landmarks

Another important idea to factor into wayfinding signage is how to use landmarks to enhance your message. You can use landmarks to help your potential customers and clients to more easily remember or notice the path which they are on and the destination to which they are going. Try to use elements that become more visible in human memory. We’re talking art objects, buildings, any striking elements in a landscape that will stand out along a visitor’s way.


Ultimately, you are trying to avoid visitors getting disoriented. If they get disoriented they might not be able to find where they need to go, become frustrated, and leave. So what’s the best way to get people oriented? Well, maps, of course. But not everybody is a cartographer; maps can be really tricky to read for some people who just have trouble finding where they are on a map, let alone where they want to go. That is why it is best when utilizing a map to orient a visitor to display the map heads-up in the direction you are facing. Don’t make them guess at where they are or the floorplan of your business.

Get in touch

If you would like to learn more about wayfinding signage or would like to place an order, please contact us today.

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