Wayfinding influences how we feel about a place. Here are the points to keep top of mind.
It’s Part of the Brand
Perhaps because signage is installed as part of the construction package or is specified as part of an architect’s bid package, the purpose and connection of wayfinding a space can be misplaced. This is in no way meant to be a criticism of architects, as there are practical reasons that signage is included in an architect’s bid package.
Wayfinding is part of your brand and should be treated as such. It directly expresses the personality of a space and influences how users connect emotionally to the space. It must be given the same weight as the rest of a brand’s touchpoints to effectively express a brand’s overall personality. The same elements that are part of the marketing materials, identity style and messaging (like color palette, typographic treatment and material elements) should extend to wayfinding. Wayfinding should be as cohesive and consistent with the brand as possible.
ADA Compliance isn’t Wayfinding
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) signage is only a portion of a building’s signage. ADA signs are typically the signs with braille and information icons which are found on office doors and bathrooms. While vital, there are other signs that ease navigation and make a space comfortable, exciting or memorable.
The most successful wayfinding programs plan for and include a variety of appropriate signs and graphics, including, identity signage, directional signs, experiential signage, adequate and integral accessibility (ADA), kiosk and interpretive signs and art.
Wayfinding Can Be the Difference Between Your Space Being Embraced or Avoided
If you’ve been in a building that was confusing to navigate or while seemingly nice enough, felt just plain creepy, the likely reason was lack of proper wayfinding. Comprehensive wayfinding can be the difference between a space that is comfortable and memorable and one that is frustrating and repelling.
When left unplanned, buildings are often “decorated” with the minimum level of ADA signage. This does not adequately provide comfort, does not eliminate directional confusion and detracts from a feeling of quality. It can also make a building just plain unsafe. The result can easily be a negative experience that does not support the overall goals of the development brand and makes yours a destination your audience can live without.
What is your experience with wayfinding your development? Want to know more? Leave me a note, I would love to hear from you – Jeff Breidenbach
Since 1996, Argus has helped clients bring their brand to life and attract the right audience through communication strategy, environmental design and digital products. We focus primarily in the real estate and non-profit markets. For more information, contact the Argus team at (415) 247-2800.