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Wayfinding And Directional Signage

By Expert Author: Steff Young

Wayfinding is the art of using landmarks, signs, pathways and environmental information to find your way in the built environment and will help first-time visitors navigate and experience a site without confusion. Architectural environments provide a variety of information that allow people to navigate unfamiliar places. When they are inconsistent, people get lost. Signs help people make and execute decisions in their environment.

Wayfinding principles have been practiced by architects and designers for years. The creation of a navigation plan provides clear guidelines for the design of various signage elements.

How You Find Your Destination
1. you assess what you are viewing
2. you interpret the visual and written information you see and process it.
3. make a decision based on what you've observed, move ahead until you've found your destination.

Wayfinding applies to design and can be used both by designers and clients. They can apply to many different building types, but specific differences exist for different settings such as campuses, hospitals, museums, civic centers and park environments, and many others.

Way finding in buildings and groups of buildings is most affected by the logic of the architectural arrangement and design. People using the environment bring with them individual abilities, limitations, and memories about navigating that must be accommodated by any overall way-finding strategy.

Such brochures, mailers, newspapers, radio/TV ads and even informal handouts become part of the user's information on how navigate the environment. They must be consistent in their representations about the facility in order for communication to be clear; driving instructions must agree with how the facility is actually accessed, published maps must agree with facility maps, and type size and contrast must all be legible. Maps can be distributed from an electronic kiosk, interactive touch screen interaction regarding the destination and best way to take. The comprehensive and cohesive signage systems support the pathways identified on the maps.

Staff and other occupants in the building who give directions, are an essential part of the user's environmental influences and must be organized and trained wherever possible. It can help staff give clearer, more helpful directions of how the signs and other way-finding devices are intended to work.

An organized set of sign elements can be the most cost-effective method of updating a way-finding system. Other orientation devices such as architectural signage, color accents, strategic placement of sculpture or fine art, and information kiosks are all potential tools for a successful way finding program.

An effective wayfinding signage systems leads to an effective environment, thus helping save the organization time and money and increasing profitability. An environment easy to navigate with the implementation of an effective way-finding strategy, significant and consistent information is given at the right time and place.

Ineffective way finding signage systems are very problematic for buildings because of the costs they can incur and the time that users appropriate to searching for a desired location. If there were a bad way finding systems occur in the environment, people rely on the staff of the building to direct them to their destination.

Signs can be divided into seven categories:
* Identification Signs
* Directional Signs
* Warning Signs
* Regulatory and Prohibitory Signs
* Operational Signs
* Honorific Signs
* Interpretive Signs

Donor Recognition TouchPoint Worldwide is your team of architectural signage, exterior, interior, office, wayfinding and custom sign experts.

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