Signage within retail stores, offices, and other public and commercial buildings serves many purposes.  While a major focus of indoor signage is branding and advertising, you cannot forget about the importance of wayfinding signage.  Customers and visitors need to be able to navigate your building to find what they need and where they need to go, and wayfinding signage is the best way to ensure that you put them on the right path.

The Importance of Wayfinding Signage

Wayfinding signage is used to inform, direct, and guide people through your building.  These signs should be placed in strategic points where visitors and customers will notice them.  Effective wayfinding signage points your visitors in the most logical direction by communicating the maximum amount of helpful information with minimal signal.

The goal of wayfinding signage is to make it easy for visitors and customers to navigate the unfamiliar environment of your building.  People often look for the following to help them when in unfamiliar surroundings:

• Maps, floor plans, or building directories to inform them of where it is they need to go and where they are in relation to their destination.

• Signage that can direct them to their destination on the walls and ceilings.

Wayfinding signage must incorporate the following to ensure that your visitors and customers can correctly interpret the signage:

• Consistent location and installation of wayfinding signage throughout your building so visitors know where to look for the next signs.

• Consistent design of the signs including colors, fonts, symbols, and nomenclature throughout the building.

The following are additional factors you should consider to ensure the effectiveness of your wayfinding signage:

• Signage should be the right size and uniform in size throughout the building

• Information should be easy to read

• Good location for signs

• Clear and relevant information

• Consistent sign design

• Harmony between exterior and interior wayfinding signage

• Flexibility within the sign system to accommodate future updates

Wayfinding Signs
Wayfinding Signs

Wayfinding Signage Types

An effective wayfinding signage system should include different types of signage that communicate different types of information that work together to help your customers and visitors successfully navigate your building.  The following are the four main types of wayfinding signage:

Identification Signs

Identification signs are used to label specific areas, landmarks, and structures.  They do not direct visitors, they let visitors know what areas and landmarks they have reached.  These signs will let visitors know that they have reached their destination.

You should do the following to effectively use identification signage:

• Post signs with text and images on destinations such as restrooms, conference rooms, break rooms, and more.

• Make sure maps and directories have “you are here” designations.

• Post signs for exits and entries and to let visitors know when they have entered a new section of the building.

Directional Signs

Directional signs are signs that point towards a destination.  Their purpose is to keep people moving through the building and on the right path to their destinations.  These signs should appear at junctions where visitors need to be pointed in the right direction.

These tips will help you get the best use of your directional signage:

• Post signs at entryways that point visitors to important destinations such as offices and information desks.

• Post signs in elevator lobbies that let visitors know which floor to go to for specific locations.

• Put overhead signs at junctions to provide further direction.

Informational Signs

Informational signs provide visitors with information that may be useful along their path, such as what areas of the building they have entered or what they may expect to encounter.  Signs along the highway that alert drivers of construction zones are an example of informational signage.

You can use informational signage in the following ways:

• Designate employee parking spots from parking for visitors or customers.

• Alert visitors of equipment in use in the areas such as forklifts.

• Let visitors know if a specific area has Wi-Fi

Regulatory Signs

Regulatory signs let users know of requirements or regulations in place in a certain area.  Warning signs for restricted areas are an example of this type of signage.

The following regulatory signs may be used around your building:

• Signs reminding employees and visitors to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hardhats and goggles.

• No smoking signs and signs labeling smoking areas.

• Warning visitors of hazardous or restricted areas.

How to Enhance Customer Experience with Wayfinding Signs

Wayfinding plays a significant role in the customer experience.  The signage installed can impact whether or not customers return.  Here are six ways that wayfinding signage enhances the overall customer experience.

Wayfinding signage
Wayfinding signage

Create Positive First Impressions

Signage is often the first impression that customers have of a storefront or business.  The first impression plays a significant role in the brand experience.  It determines whether your customers arrive happily or stressed.  It sets the tone for what people should expect from your business.  In the worst case scenarios, poor wayfinding can actively drive people away from a business if there is not clear signage to direct them.

Help Customers Find What They Need

If you can’t find what you need in a store, are you going to keep wandering or will you give up?  Customers can substitute the items they can’t find or order them online.  If a retail location is confusing, they are not going to try to find what they need.  Wayfinding assures customers that they can easily reach their desired departments.  It makes them feel confident in their ability to find key items or people.  With clear guidance, people find what they need, driving up your sales and improving the customer experience.

Keep Customers Longer

Customers who stay at a business longer are likely to spend more.  If a customer buys food and leaves, they will only make one purchase.  However, if there is live music or their friends are around, they are more likely to find a drink or look for another snack.  The positive experience drives them to spend more.  Wayfinding contributes to positive experiences.  Customers are more relaxed and comfortable,  This keeps them on-location longer and drives up your profits.

Present New Opportunities

Along with informing customers on where their desired products or destinations are, wayfinding can also present new ideas.  This is particularly useful in the hospitality field where guests want to explore new activities while relaxing.  Wayfinding is valuable for both new and returning customers.  New customers want to know about everything you offer, while returning customers want to try different things and get to know a brand better.

Reduce Stress on Customer Care Team

Good wayfinding will have ripple effects throughout a business.  Clear signage and directional instruction means customers will ask fewer questions.  This, in turn, frees up the time for employees to help other customers.  For example, half of all hospital visitors report getting lost when trying to find the right department.  They stop doctors, nurses, and other staff members for guidance.  While it might only take a few minutes to help a visitor, those minutes add up during the day and take time away from patients.

Increase Customer Return Rate

Customers put in extra effort to visit a business in a world where almost everything can be ordered online, and businesses can be run online.  Marketing gets them to visit – the experience determines if they return.  Businesses need a healthy mix of new and repeat customers.  New customers help you grow while your repeat customers drive profits.  Wayfinding has a direct impact on sales and performance.  If you create a positive experience with clear signage, customers are more likely to return, spend more, and share the experience with others.

Wayfinding Signage from Divine Signs and Graphics

Need some direction when it comes to wayfinding signage?  Our team is here to help!  Our sign experts will answer all your questions and find the perfect solution for your space.

Call Divine Signs and Graphics at (847) 534-9220 for more about our wayfinding signage.

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February 10, 2023

Divine Signs

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