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A Complete Guide to Designing An Effective Wayfinding Sign for Your Business

A Complete Guide to Designing An Effective Wayfinding Sign for Your Business

10/18/2018

What if you were losing customers because no one knows who or where your company is?

It's a pretty sobering thought. But without well-placed visual marketing, many potential customers may not even know your business exists.

The solution is to design billboards and other visual advertising to catch the customer's eye. And that means mastering the art of wayfinding.

To learn more about wayfinding and how it can benefit your business, keep reading!

What Is Wayfinding?

Before you can dive into our comprehensive wayfinding guide, we need to answer a simple question. Just what is wayfinding?

"Wayfinding" is a catch-all term that refers to any kind of visual design that can help someone figure out where they are now and where they want to go next.

This can be as simple as a map inside a crowded mall or as a complex as a postmodern art installation. In terms of business, though, the primary function of wayfinding is marketing.

When done right, wayfinding can help customers discover and appreciate your business. To understand why, you must first understand the different functions of wayfinding.

Different Functions of Wayfinding

The most basic function of wayfinding is navigational. If you want customers to be able to navigate from Point A to Point B, then wayfinding essentially provides them with a stylized map to guide them on their way.

On a deeper level, though, wayfinding is an organic form of customer engagement. You are guiding how they interact and navigate the physical space of your business.

In this way, well-designed wayfinding lets you construct a real-world version of a customer funnel that is designed to turn cold leads into brand-new customers!

The Benefits of Wayfinding

Make no mistake: good wayfinding takes a lot of time and potentially a lot of money in order to get it right. It's worth answering the question, then: just how will wayfinding benefit your business?

We already mentioned one of the biggest benefits: organic customer engagement. And to that, we'll add a related point: customers feel more relaxed when they can discover a space on their own instead of being badgered by a stranger on the sales floor.

Furthermore, wayfinding lets you establish the narrative of your brand in a unique and compelling way. Many modern demographics (especially Millennials) appreciate the story behind a brand, and this approach lets your story shine by engaging their sense of spatial thinking.

Finally, good wayfinding offers potentially dramatic returns on investment. It allows you to lure in additional customers while fostering loyalty from existing customers, which is a powerful one/two punch to your bottom line!

Good Examples of Wayfinding

The word and concept of "wayfinding" may sound like a new idea. However, chances are that you have seen plenty of great wayfinding examples throughout your life.

Billboards are a classic example of wayfinding. For instance, the billboards on an interstate that help to specify how far away from a business you are. And some companies even use multiple billboards over the miles to emphasize when a customer is getting closer.

Large visual maps are another example. Everything from malls to theme parks to subways use large and colorful maps so that you can get a better idea of where you are and where you need to go.

Other examples are more subtle. For instance, museums and art galleries often use subtle wayfinding techniques to guide visitors along a certain path so that they experience everything the space has to offer in the proper order.

Now that you have some examples of wayfinding in mind, it's important to know what factors should go into designing your own wayfinding techniques.

Size and Space

The biggest consideration (no pun intended) is the amount of space you will have for your wayfinding. This will determine the size of things like your imagery and text.

For instance, those maps we mentioned earlier have a lot of text on them. But that works because they know customers can walk right up to the map and take their time reading it.

A billboard is the opposite. It is much larger, but customers may have only seconds to view it. Wayfinding such as that should employ one large image and minimize the text, offering only key information (such as the directions to your business).

Use of Color

No matter the size and space of your wayfinding, the color selection is very important. In fact, your color selection can help to evoke specific moods from the customers who interact with the wayfinding.

As a classic example, red is a color that we associate with risk-taking and boldness. If you want people to think of your company as daring and adventurous, then employ this color in your wayfinding.

Meanwhile, green is a color that we associate with both nature and health. If you want customers to think of your company as being harmonious with the planet, then make sure your wayfinding has green in it.

Another color consideration is whether you wish to blend in or stand out. And that is part of a larger wayfinding discussion.

Blending in vs. Standing Out

Remember when we discussed the different functions of wayfinding? As it turns out, those functions also correspond to the kinds of colors and design elements you should include in your wayfinding.

For example, marketing such as billboards is intended to stand out. As we said, you need to grab customers' attention in a matter of seconds, and standing out in any way helps you do that.

However, wayfinding within your store or other inhabited space should feel more organic. This includes signs that match the colors of the surrounding area and maps that seamlessly integrate with the walls.

When your wayfinding integrates with the surrounding environment, it creates the kind of organic feel that naturally leads to customer engagement.

The Bottom Line

Now you know just how important wayfinding can be. But do you know who can help you with all your wayfinding needs?

Here at Image 360, we are the final word on every form of graphical marketing. To see how we can take your wayfinding to a new level, come check out our signage and graphics products today!

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