What is wayfinding?!
If you were like me (prior to my time working for a sign company), you have probably heard the term ‘wayfinding’ floating around in regards to signage, maps, or other various topics of discussion. Although you are familiar with the term, it’s doubtful that you have taken the time to research exactly what wayfinding means and what role it plays in your building.
Reginald Golledge, in his book, Wayfinding Behavior: Cognitive Mapping and Other Spatial Processes, defineswayfinding as “the process of determining and following a path or route between an origin and a destination.” If you break down the word, the definition becomes a lot more comprehensible–wayfinding is literally how you find your way to a desired location. According to Golledge, there are three components that any wayfinding device must employ to be truly successful:
- Must be purposive
- Must be directed
- Must be motivated
- Make sure your wayfinding signage is necessary
- Place your wayfinding signage in an area of high traffic, or high confusion
- Make sure the sign speaks for itself
- Equip your sign with arrows and other visual cues
- Make sure your sign is legible, easily-seen, and helpful
- Accuracy. Accuracy. Accuracy. These signs better tell the true story!
- Make your sign aesthetically-pleasing. Design is key!
- Your wayfinding signage should be consistent throughout the building.
- Don’t overwhelm them with information. Be concise.
- Make sure your wayfinding signage is necessary (YES–a directory sign like this is absolutely necessary in a large building, in which suites are numbered and occupants of each suite are displayed.)
- Place your wayfinding signage in an area of high traffic, or high confusion (YES–this sign will be placed in the lobby of the building, the area with the most traffic and the area in which people are looking for answers.)
- Make sure the sign speaks for itself (YES–after seeing this sign, you are able to tell where the suite you are looking for is, as well as what businesses are in each suite.)
- Equip your sign with arrows and other visual cues (YES–although arrows are not included in this particular sign, the signage as a whole is very easy to read and visual cues align the suite number with the name of the business occupying the suite. Arrows can be presumed to be a part of other wayfinding signage within the building.)
- Make sure your sign is legible, easily-seen, and helpful (YES–this sign is clean as can be, as all text and numbers are spaced well and the font is easy to read, even from a distance.)
- Accuracy. Accuracy. Accuracy. These signs better tell the true story! (YES–this sign certainly isn’t hiding any information, nor misleading anyone. The suites are accurate, up-to-date, and correctly display the occupant.)
- Make your sign aesthetically-pleasing. Design is key! (YES–although the colors are relatively neutral, the design is modern and the curve in the sign adds a great stylistic element. It is an aesthetically-pleasing directory sign.)
- Your wayfinding signage should be consistent throughout the building. (YES–consistency is key, and the branding at the top of the directory prominently shows the building’s name and is presumed to be consistent throughout the building. Color schemes should also match here!)
- Don’t overwhelm them with information. Be concise. (YES–this sign is far from cluttered. Everything is legible, spaced out correctly, and most importantly, there is not unnecessary text anywhere on the page. This is a great example of wayfinding signage.)
Written By: Jack Yakowicz