What is the best way to describe “Wayfinding?” Wayfinding can be best described as knowing where you are in a building or a facility, knowing where your anticipated location is, and knowing how to get there from your existing location.
Wayfinding systems tend to be immense, because of all the many components to consider. These components include destinations, routes, materials, ADA code, architecture, and branding. However, the three most mandatory aspects in any wayfinding project come down to branding, architectural features, and the people. All the remaining components, fit into one of the mentioned categories.
When approaching any destination, what catches people’s eyes first are the architectural features. Regardless if it’s an open outdoor space or some type of landmark, there’s usually some type of “Gateway” feature that confirms you have arrived. While inside the space, the design of pathways, visibility of vertical circulation such as staircases or elevators aid in the visitor’s ability to navigate the space. Aside from everything else, wall finishes, lighting, and technology additions may also be helpful in distinguishing a sense of direction. The placements of intersections and ceiling heights are all considerations for where information should be placed, what it looks like, and how people will cooperate with it.
By incorporating typography, color, and other branding attributes, wayfinding complements the brand. Especially in overpopulated cities, the exterior branding is very significant towards clearly indicating building boundaries or in increasing usage of a specific area by attracting more attention to it. Cohesive branding confirms with the visitor that they are in the correct location while creating consistent brand recognition. When it comes to Place-making, the use of branding allows individuals to familiarize themselves with the area while creating an exclusive communication between the brand and its visitor.
People Directly Affected By The Wayfinding System
Individuals who utilize that given wayfinding system, are the most important part. When they arrive at a sign, that’s where their journey begins. Initially, architecture and branding will be the first two things they’ll encounter as they reach any given location. Next static signs will provide them with additional, appropriate directions.
Directional signs, flag signs, and banners are a few of the concepts in which wayfinding systems communicate the directions, its strategy and solution and how effective it may be for its visitors.
It’s important to know who the visitors are, and what types of tools would be needed in order to get those visitors to their perspective location. Next, building a system that is consistent with the brand, vocabulary, and strategically located according to its architecture and supported by materials, that will help them reach their place.