As Americans, our society has often strived to teach us that if something is bigger, chances are, it is better than its smaller counterpart. However, this logic does not always apply to everything…. Especially wayfinding signage. In the quest to keeping your city looking orderly and appealing, but allowing businesses to get their messages across, there are a number of best practices to consider:
- Be strategic – When signage is used to support a larger marketing strategy or enhance a civic brand, the number of signs used is somewhat irrelevant. Over signed systems can be confusing and often make the problem of sign clutter a distraction. Concentrate on strategically placing unique and engaging signage, as opposed focusing on how many signs you will be using, in order to create a more effective system.
- Think beyond the sign – Signs themselves are not always the most effective way to orient people within an environment. Graphics, art features and digitally interactive signage is now being used by many cities to augment static sign placement. Consider the use of these elements at key entry points and throughout the wayfinding system in order to make a city more memorable, interesting and aesthetically pleasing to users.
- Tech is king – If you have an existing wayfinding system, or you are planning to implement one, it makes sense to consider the use of emerging technology. The advent of mobile applications, geo mapping and GPS, can be used to enhance your wayfinding system, as well as the user experience. These new resources can have a dramatic impact on the number of signs required in order to build an effective wayfinding system.
- Use Unique Landmarks – Incorporating the use of noticeable landmarks can be helpful in reducing the number of signs needed to construct an effective wayfinding system. Landmarks can turn heavy traffic areas into seamlessly designed locales without the use of standard signage by acting as directional guideposts and identifiers. Communities should also consider the use of interactive kiosk, pocket branding, pedestal or monument maps in order to direct traffic to other areas within their environment.
- Be Smart with the Budget – Spending restrictions will often curtail development of a wayfinding system, and present problems for many urban cities. Because signs come in many shapes, sizes and forms, there is no reason why existing structures cannot be utilized as features of a wayfinding system. Already established building can be transformed into features of a wayfinding system that incorporate graffiti art, murals, directional arrows and area landmarks. Cities can reduce the number of signs by incorporating these elements into their wayfinding systems.