Can you imagine an airport or hospital with no directional signs? It would just cause panic with people running from one place to another without any clue. That is why wayfinding signs are a must for most public places.
Even though wayfinding signs are often ignored, they’re a key feature for facilities like hospitals, airports, university campuses, etc. If wayfinding signs are designed properly, they allow people to navigate smoothly and facilitate a steady flow of foot traffic.
This article highlights some common mistakes you need to avoid while designing wayfinding signs.
Cluttered Designs and Information Overload
Too much text, unnecessary pictures, and mismatched color schemes are undoubtedly going to conceal the message you’re trying to give. Bombarding your viewers with too many distractions in your wayfinding sign will overstimulate them and leave them puzzled.
Wayfinding designs should clearly direct viewers where they need to go without leaving them confused. Viewers shouldn’t also spend too much time looking at a wayfinding sign to search for the information they need. Therefore, while designing a wayfinding sign you need to ensure that it’s clean, crisp, and straightforward to effortlessly guide anyone who sees it.
It’s extremely important to use the right colors when designing a wayfinding sign. However, what’s even more critical is the contrast. It’s a standard practice to have black text over a white background. But if you wish to make your signs more colorful, make sure that the text stands out and can easily be read by people from a distance. Avoid using colors that are similar to each other such as green text on a blue background.
Several wayfinding signs have text written on them that is so small that you would need a magnifying glass to decipher what they’re saying. This is an indication of a poorly designed wayfinding sign!
On the other hand, it’s quite common to see wayfinding designs that are not at all appropriate for the intended recipient of the information. For instance, a sign that is designed for drivers driving at around 30 mph needs to be designed differently than one aimed for pedestrians. The one designed for drivers needs to have text in large, bold letters whereas the ones for pedestrians can have a smaller and slimmer font size.
Another common mistake you need to avoid while designing wayfinding signs is having an improper hierarchy. Ideally, the most important places should be listed at the top, followed by places of intermediate importance, and lastly have places of lowest importance. For instance, in an airport, Terminals, Baggage Claim are the most important places. Places of intermediate importance include Help Desk, Toilets and places of least importance include Shops.
Lack of Clustering
Many designers fail to properly cluster all the terms on a wayfinding sign. For instance, in an airport, the Terminals might not be listed all together in ascending order. Similarly, Baby Changing Rooms and Toilets might not be listed consecutively even though they both refer to the same facility.
We hope this article helped you understand the mistakes you need to avoid while designing wayfinding signs.
Blue Orbit Sign Studio is a full-service visual communication business in Huntsville. We specialize in designing, manufacturing and installing signs and graphics.