Wayfinding signage can make or break a visitor’s experience in your space. The worst kind of wayfinding will have visitors feeling annoyed and exasperated because it will feel difficult to navigate the area. This makes them want to never return, and if they do happen to come back, they will undoubtedly have negative feelings directed towards it.On the other hand, the best kind of wayfinding system welcomes visitors to the space and introduces them to your brand. It makes them feel comfortable and relaxed and presents them with a fantastic first impression. For this reason, it is crucial that you choose to have the best wayfinding and signage solutions in Dubai (or wherever your business is located) because if you don’t, you can be assured that your competition will.
To help you succeed, read on to learn five ways to improve your wayfinding signage.
1. Educate yourself on the essential principles.
Before you can improve your wayfinding signage, you first need to ensure that you are aware of the essential principles of wayfinding design. At the core of wayfinding design are maps because they are both systems of classifying and communicating information to help visitors find the way to their destination.
To do this, you need to ensure that you are only presenting the essential information; otherwise, the wayfinding signage system will be too overwhelming and therefore unable to serve its intended purpose. A comprehensive yet concise visual communication system is an essential principle of wayfinding signage.
Furthermore, the routes that are incorporated into your wayfinding design strategy should have a definite start, middle, and end so that users can continually verify their progress.
2. Study the usage of the space.
Once you have refreshed your understanding of the basic principles, you then want to go and take another look at the space. In particular, you want to study how the space is used, where the problem points are, and how an improved wayfinding system could help mitigate these issues.
During this step, you want to spend time moving through the area as though you were a first-time visitor. This will help you to see the space from their point of view and will give you a better sense of the possible issues they may have and where they would likely get confused. Keep in mind that the best wayfinding systems are so intuitive that visitors don’t notice their brilliance.
3. Create a standard that can last.
In many situations, individuals prioritize trends over long-lasting, timeless design, which often leads to wayfinding systems that quickly feel outdated or tacky. Alternatively, it is common for wayfinding systems not to be designed with expansion in mind, which then makes it hard to extend them when needed.
Don’t make this same mistake! The best wayfinding systems are coherent and consistent but are also flexible enough that they can grow and transform along with the space.
Therefore, it is vital that you design a classification of sign standards that can be used throughout your wayfinding system to maintain the aesthetic and functionality of the space. This classification will enable you to successfully coordinate the artistic elements of wayfinding signage with the practical necessities. Both of these are crucial for creating a successful, useful wayfinding signage system.
4. Work with the surrounding features.
To offer the visitors the best wayfinding design possible, you need to ensure that your system works in harmony with the area’s surrounding features. By utilizing “landmarks,” you are helping visitors recollect their movements while also establishing them in the space.
What you use as landmarks will depend on what you have at your disposal. In some cases, they may be obvious (natural features, a great architectural design), but often you may have to specifically produce some (a wall of mirrors, an art sculpture, etc.).
The last thing you want visitors to feel is that everything looks the same. If this is the case, it will be far more challenging for them to navigate the space, and their feelings towards you will be on the negative end of the spectrum. Don’t make things harder than they need to be for them!
5. Hire professionals.
At the end of the day, to have the best wayfinding signage system possible, you need to bring in the professionals. After all, these individuals specialize in the design and execution of these systems. Working with a top wayfinding signage firm will ensure that you find the necessary balance between aesthetics and usability, while also creating a standardization system that lasts.
From drafting the designs to ascertaining the problematic issues plus installing landmarks, these experts understand what is needed to formulate a wayfinding signage system that works for your space.
What issues are you currently facing with regards to your wayfinding signage? What aspects do you think need correcting? Do you know how you are going to improve them? Let us know your thoughts and any relevant experiences in the comments below!
Zak Zakaria is a Waymaker at dezigntechnic in Dubai who also previously worked as the company’s Graphic Designer and Art Director. Zak is a creative with work experience in multiple multinational agencies such as JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi. Signage design is a family business, making Zak’s personal experience with signage his longest professional commitment.