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The Unbreakable Rules of Successful Wayfinding Design

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There is a certain set of proven rules that work for wayfinding design which has been developed by experts over the course of many years. Some date back thousands of years (the earliest roads date back to 5000 B.C. and were located in Eurasia).

Whether you are working to create a wayfinding plan (complete with directional signage) for an indoor or outdoor space, keep in mind the unbreakable rules that have stood the test of time.

Identify Landmarks

When each location is unique from those around it, getting from point A to point B is easy. This is because there are generally distinct landmarks within each location that people can use to identify.

When it comes to wayfinding design, landmarks are a powerful tool. They act as an orientation cue people use to find their way. Before modern navigation tools, sea vessels used to use certain formations of stars as landmarks to give them their bearings (this is how the constellations were born). Make sure to identify landmarks with your directional signs so people will always know their relative position based on their surroundings.

Create Pathways

Like a herd of cattle, people tend to follow the path that is set before them. It is easy to become lost when in an open space with no directional signage. When you create a pathway that has both a direction and a distinct beginning, middle and end, navigation becomes second nature.

Create easy-to-follow pathways from one landmark to the next and navigators will always know where they are going and how they will get there.

Place Signs at Decision Points

With multiple defined pathways leading from landmark to landmark, navigators will ultimately come across intersecting paths that lead toward multiple directions. These decision points are the perfect place for wayfinding signage systems

Properly placed directional signs are integral to wayfinding success. These signs should guide navigators in the proper direction without complicating the process.

Make Navigating Intuitive 

A well-placed directional sign will help a person get to where they are going with ease. A wayfinding system with too many options will only complicate the process. Navigating should be intuitive and effortless, and navigators should not be presented with too many decisions. There may be multiple ways to get to a certain location, but it should be up to the wayfinding system to present the best route at every decision point. Presenting too many options will only take away from the effectiveness of the entire wayfinding design.

Design is Only the Beginning

Wayfinding design is only the first step in the process. You also need high quality signs that are durable, elegant and easy to read. At Encompass, we manufacture signs that fit your wayfinding plan and be seamlessly integrated into any environment.

To learn more about our process and the materials we use, contact our team today.

A Gold Timex to Photopolymer ADA Signage!

Thanks for your service to industry for the last 25 years. Photopolymer signs have been the predominant choice of designers for tactile ADA signage for a quarter of a century. Thankfully, at the inception of ADA legislation in the late 80’s and early 90’s photopolymer signs provided a standard process and uniform look for ADA signage. 

Without photopolymer ADA signs, designers in the 90’s would have chosen sub-standard, ineffective and random sign designs for their building environments. 

Before Beanie Babies, the World Wide Web, and before anyone understood the importance of branding…. photopolymer signs made it easier to outfit a building with ADA signs.  Even after the Japanese tsunami forced core prices to double, photopolymer signs remained the only good choice for designers. Thankfully, new technology has finally evolved. 

Thermoformed ADA signs give designers the creative latitude and durability that designers need to meet their client’s branding needs, at an appealing price point.  It’s no surprise that according to Dodge Analytics, “Thermoformed ADA signs” saw an increase of 237% in Specifications in 2016. Thermoformed signs are now universally acknowledged in Specs as an “approved equal” to photopolymer signs and that’s a big win for ADA thermoforming manufacturers. Those who really know about the differences between photopolymer ADA signs and thermoformed ADA signs are knocking clients off their feet with new ideas never available until now.

Photopolymer signs are still plenty viable.  There are over 3,000 sign-makers that still maintain their relationship with the two surviving raw material photopolymer providers. Machinery needed to produce these signs still exists and is almost free to get started; it’s the raw photopolymer material price increases to watch out for...  While Father Time and new technology may have caught up to photopolymers signs, their contribution and service to the industry over the last 25 years certainly must be treasured!   

To learn how to use this new thermoforming ADA technology and provide your design team a new design tool belt, durability and scalable branding offering, follow this link or simply contact us 763.270.4353

Heather M.:

About Encompass Sign Systems

Encompass Sign Systems specializes in thermoformed tactile signs and leading-edge directional and wayfinding systems. We provide designers and architects with highly scalable wholesale signage that have limitless branding capabilities and unsurpassed durability.