Wayfinding Signage: What It Is, Its Different Types, and Factors to Consider When Designing One

Photo by Filipe Lourenço Marques on Unsplash

Most people still don’t know what wayfinding signage is. They can’t tell how it’s different from other kinds of signage. Some don’t even know what it is. This article will put an end to that. In this article, we’d discuss everything that one could possibly need to know about wayfinding signage. We’d discuss:

  • What it is
  • What its different types are
  • And factors to consider when designing one

Understanding what wayfinding signage is important as it will make it easy for you to effectively create digital wayfinding signage and more. To make things easier for you, you can also check out digital wayfinding from A Buzz Solutions.

They can do every single wayfinding signage for all your business needs. You must understand what wayfinding signage is to effectively reach out and connect with your audience.

What is wayfinding signage?

Wayfinding signage is any kind of sign that gives directions. They exist to make it easy for people to find their way without having to rely on confusing maps or lengthy explanations.

When one sees a wayfinding signage, one gets immediately oriented as to where one is and where one is going. Everyone benefits when wayfinding signage is well-designed.

Wayfinding is an ancient human practice. Ancient Polynesian civilizations were the first to figure out our place in the universe by studying the stars. Now, such practice is still ever relevant and utilized.

But as our needs ever became complicated and uniquely personalized, demands for clear direction rose. This is why wayfinding signage will always be relevant.

What are the different types of wayfinding signage?

There are primarily three different types of wayfinding signage:

1. Directional

This kind of signage is the most basic kind of wayfinding signage. Simply put, it tells a person which way to go. You always see one when you’re on the road or inside a big building. A good example of one is a fingerpost sign.

2. Informational

This kind of wayfinding signage is also a guide but it is not centered on directions. It is instead focused on providing information. A good example of this is flight information displays.

Flight information displays are a perfect example of this kind of wayfinding signage as it gives all the necessary information for scheduled flights. In one look, a person would easily know which gate to go to at a given period.

The very presence of flight information displays is essential in maintaining the smooth operation of an airport. It serves every single person with scheduled flights day in and day out in just one look.

3. Confirmational

This kind of wayfinding signage does not give out directions. It gives a confirmation instead that the person reading it is on the right path or has successfully arrived at a location.

A good example of this is a sign that says “Gate 10 – 5 minutes away.” A person who reads such a kind of sign will immediately be reassured that Gate 10 is only just 5 minutes away.

This sends a message that the person looking for Gate 10 is on the right path. A confirmational wayfinding signage is usually used in massive buildings like airports, campuses, and resorts.

4 Things to Consider When Designing a Wayfinding Signage

You need to consider the following if you want to create well-designed wayfinding signage:

1. Disabilities

A good wayfinding signage is sensitive to the needs of all kinds of individuals. For it to be effective, it must be accessible and readable by as many people as possible, including those of us who are especially able.

This is always a very tricky aspect to consider because it’s hard to please everyone. In creating a wayfinding signage though, you should at least try.

Good designers can make highly visual wayfinding signage available to the blind. This is by making such signage within hand height so that braille can be duly placed.

2. Lighting

Your wayfinding signage will be all for nothing if it cannot be seen. It should be well-lit and clearly visible even during nighttime.

Planning for lighting is not solely limited to considering the source of light, one should also consider different environmental scenarios that can cause different lighting conditions.

When designing a wayfinding signage, great care and planning must be made if such signage is to be placed outdoors.

3. Language and Culture

A good wayfinding signage designer places importance on the language and culture of the people that he or she is making the signage. Different people can interpret different sets of colors and words put together.

This is often a problem in international airports. Not everybody can read English. This is why most airports have translated signs that give information and directions.

When making a wayfinding signage, you should always reflect if one or two languages will be enough. The problem with wayfinding signage in two languages though is that they are hard to read.

4. Materials

All your designing and planning will result in nothing if you won’t get to choose the best material for your signage. To do this, you first need to determine if your sign will be placed indoors or outdoors.

If a wayfinding signage will be placed outdoors, you need to ensure that you use a highly durable material that is weather-resistant.

You should also consider if you’d need to change the sign every now and then. In such a case, you should look for a material that is not just durable but flexible as well.


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