Wayfinding Signage 101


Wayfinding signageHow do people find their way to or through your location? Do they rely on luck, memory or intuition – or do you offer them a clear, easy to understand and comprehensive way to navigate the environment? Unless you want to see visitors meandering around, stumbling into the areas they seek simply by blind luck, a system of wayfinding signs is a must. Learning more about wayfinding signs, how they work and what elements are most important will allow you to create an easily navigated facility and a user friendly experience for visitors.

What are Wayfinding Signs?

Wayfinding signs are the signage used by an institution or environment to let visitors know how to find their way around. To be effective, the signs need to relay a complex amount of information in an easy to understand way. Signs should allow visitors to determine where they are within the facility, where they want to go and the correct path to follow to reach their goal. The best wayfinding signs are clear and easy to read and take all of the guesswork out of navigating the environment.

History of Wayfinding Signage?

From the ancient wanderers who spent a lifetime navigating the ocean to more modern explorers, wayfinding signs and symbols allowed a group to find a destination in even a confusing or changing environment. From finding food and shelter to avoiding hazards, the ability to navigate an unfamiliar environment could make the difference between life and death for travelers. One of the most striking historic examples from the modern era continues to be the Underground Railroad – former slaves used a series of wayfinding signs and landmarks to escape to freedom during the Civil War years in the US.

Key Wayfinding Design Elements:

Wayfinding signs need to be accessible and easy to read. They also need to be directed at the specific group of people who will use them most. The following key elements have the most impact on a wayfinding system:

  • High contrast signage with easy to read font
  • Proper Placement of signs in accessible areas
  • Clear and labeled landmarks aid in navigation
  • Proper orientation is a must- visitors need to know where they are to be able to get where they are going.
  • Hazards and off-limits areas should be included so they can be avoided
  • Durability is essential, particularly for signs that will be outdoors.




Wayfinding has found a modern home in urban planning and facility design, as clients, customers and tourists need a way to navigate a complex environment, just as the ancient people needed to navigate the land and sea.  While wayfinding may not be a matter of life and death, it still plays a key role in moving visitors effectively towards their goals and safely though your facility.

Comprehensive and easy to understand wayfinding signage is a must for your facility, if you want visitors to be able to navigate easily and not get frustrated or lost.  Call Sign Professionals today at (860)-823-1122 for any further questions regarding your wayfinding signage needs

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