01 Oct. 2020

What is wayfinding?

#Wayfinding is the process of understanding space and designing signs to help people navigate in an environment, whether on foot or in a vehicle. Wayfinding is not just about signage, it also brings together disciplines such as graphic design, architecture, landscaping, lighting, art and technology to create a space navigation system suitable according to the needs. When the design is well executed, wayfinding helps people easily get to their destinations hardly realizing how they did it.

Comprehensive wayfinding systems often combine signage, maps, and symbols that are complemented by mobile apps and digital displays. Such a #project requires the analysis of the space carried out by experts, a good planning and a well process of implementation.

In some circumstances, a good wayfinding study can be of vital importance. Signage in #hospitals is a good example: when patients try to attend an important appointment or receive urgent medical attention they should not get lost in the corridors or end up asking at the information desk. These situations create unnecessary stress for patients who may be facing great health challenges.

#Airports, train stations and metro lines are also another good example, the lack of signage could cause great disruption, since many passengers would have difficulty finding the platforms or boarding gates in time to make their connections. Can you imagine how complex it would be to move through the Madrid or Barcelona metro without signs?

The first step in a project of these characteristics is to study the architecture, interior design and culture of the place. Good signage is characterized by its simplicity, it must be harmoniously integrated into the space and adapted to the needs of all users. Imagine, for example, that the signaling system was only visual. How will a blind or visually impaired person make their way?

The routes and types of users are studied always from the point of view of the visitor who accesses the place for the first time, keeping those people with reduced mobility in mind. With this study, we reinforce messages at those intersections and decision points that we have previously identified .

The graphic development of the pieces is essential to achieve a good result: the choice of an appropriate font, the colors, the type of icons or the choice of suitable materials for adverse weather conditions will be the key for the signage to work.

The simplicity and clarity of the messages is also of vital importance in a wayfinding study: regardless of its purpose, anyone should be able to look at a sign and know quickly what it says, whatever their culture or language is.

In summary: the signage derived from a wayfinding study gives security and facilitates the use of an anonymous space. Guides and answers all questions, transmits confidence and comfort; anticipates the needs or doubts of users, avoiding uncertainty and chaos. It drastically improves the quality of the user experience in a space and facilitates accessibility.

At Signes we are solving signaling needs since 1982.

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