How to Design Effective Wayfinding Signage

January 13, 2020

Ideally, wayfinding signage does just what its name implies—it helps you find your way.

While you may not yet be familiar with the term “wayfinding signs,” we have all certainly experienced them at one time or another. For example, think about road signs that direct us which way to turn off the highway to reach a point of interest. Or, simply check out our main image for today’s post, which shows an exterior wayfinding sign we at Egan Sign designed to help First Priority Bank customers locate different banking services.

Careful design goes into creating the most effective wayfinding signs, especially those found in retail, healthcare, financial services, and other customer-centric businesses that we love to work with here at Egan Sign.

Read on for more information about how your business should approach creating better wayfinding systems and informational signs.

Why is Effective Wayfinding Signage Important?

According to the International Sign Association, wayfinding signs need to allow users “to find their way, using information provided along the travel path.” We might add that in customer service-focused business settings, wayfinding signage should make this process quick, easy, and seamless.

After all, if your wayfinding signage steers your customers, clients, or other visitors in the wrong direction, they may become frustrated enough to totally give up on your business. We’re not making this up—survey data is out there showing that absent or unclear signage may deter up to 60% of your potential customers from interacting with you.

Best Design Practices for Wayfinding Signage

The rules for designing effective wayfinding signs—whether they are located in your business’s interior spaces or on the exterior in parking areas, along walkways, or in other places outdoors—are much the same as for designing effective business signage of any type.

As we covered in our earlier blog post about why effective business signs matter, great signs need to use your logo appropriately, be constructed from durable, premium-grade materials, and have high visibility and legibility above all else.

Signage should also be consistent in its appearance across multiple physical locations and/or placements within a single location so your customers never question your branding.

With wayfinding signage, there are several other design best practices to consider beyond these essential points, as well.

Understand Your Customers and Their Needs

Going back to our wayfinding signage for First Priority Bank, pictured above, this example points out two of the most important features customers will be seeking at a retail banking location—the ATM and the bank’s lobby. However, your customers’ priorities may be drastically different when they visit your business, depending on your industry and physical locations’ primary purposes.

Is your business a retail store? Retail wayfinding is potentially the most complex type there is. Your signage must entice your customers to make purchases, but cannot overwhelm them with so-called choice overload. At the same time, they need to be able to find the items they came to buy without feeling lost or confused.

Incorporate Landmarks

Placing wayfinding signage where people’s eyes are already naturally drawn may sound obvious, but many businesses miss opportunities to locate signs where they fit best.

For instance, consider where a customer or visitor’s attention will be focused as they walk through your front door. Incorporate a directional sign directing them to your reception desk, for instance, right at that point.

Consider Dimensionality

A newer trend—especially in retail wayfinding—is incorporating signage traditionally used on building exteriors as high-impact, three-dimensional interior features. Channel letters and awnings are examples of popular choices that can actually become wayfinding landmarks in and of themselves.

Get Wayfinding Signage Design Right the First Time With Egan Sign

Designing the best and most effective signage for your business can be extremely difficult for graphic artists who are not experienced with large-scale sign design. In fact, choosing an inexperienced signage designer is one of the biggest sign management mistakes business leaders can make. This goes for wayfinding signs, as well as any of your physical branding assets.

In contrast, when you work with us here at Egan Sign, we remove the guesswork from complete, end-to-end sign management for your business. Our experienced team has an unwavering commitment to finishing your signage project on time and getting it right. Get in touch with us today for help designing effective wayfinding systems and so much more!

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