As companies grow and become more complex the need for way-finding signage increases. A hospital that may have been encompassed in one or two buildings may now occupy a complex of ten buildings; retail sites such as malls have become much larger, offering many levels of stores, boutiques and restaurants; corporate offices that may have at one time occupied two floors now occupy ten floors. Way-finding signage is more vital than ever to help us get where we need to go. Our experts weigh in on way-finding signage.
Why does a company need to employ way-finding signage? It’s simply a tool to guide consumers to their destination through a series of directories, door signs, and many types of interior and exterior guides.
According to Anthony Harris, vice president of sales for North America at Gravograph, one of the most common types of way-finding signage is found at various entrances to a building.
“Sometimes there are directories at the main entrance but at the secondary entrance or driveway entrances the signage isn’t as substantial there,” says Harris. “At minimum the signage needs to direct you to the main lobby.”
“As staff and visitors approach the building they require a comprehensive set of directions to allow them to reach their destination," says Danny Schneider, vice president of sales & business development at Vista System. "As they approach the facility they will expect to see two signs: First a tall tower sign directing towards the facility/parking area and then as they drive up an attractive sign proudly displaying the name and logo of the facility. Once they park their car, they will head towards the main entrance and several directional signs will be required. If the parking area is underground, signage will be required throughout the parking garage directing to the elevators and from there to the lobby. Once you reach the lobby directional signs are needed to direct the flow of traffic to the different sections of the facility. Similarly, additional directories and directing signs will be required throughout each section to allow the staff or visitor to reach their desired: room, office, lab, etc.
Schneider continues: “The second segment of signs required is also directional, but these signs direct the workflow as opposed to traffic. These signs are used to mark the functions of the different rooms throughout the building: meeting rooms, reception areas, break rooms, office supplies storage units, do’s and don'ts instruction signs, operating instructions for machines, etc. In many facilities these signs are also used to display standard procedures, evacuation plans, employee of the month and many additional operative functions. It is important to note that both segments require a variety of signs: Tower signs, wall mounted signs, Projecting flag style signs, hanging signs, door signs and the list goes on and on based on the end users budget, imagination and need.”
According to Julien Aiglon, division manager of SignPro Systems, it is vital to use a way-finding signage consultant when creating efficient signage systems. “The most successful projects we’ve participated in all seem to involve a way-finding consultant at some point in the process. Making sure to include them in the discussion early on is probably a good starting tip as they are the experts who will make recommendations from an overall way-finding standpoint. Their recommendations go beyond just the signage aspect of the project; they strive to provide an efficient, clearly designed and successful way-finding program.”
There are also common denominators when it comes to creating a way-finding program. “Purpose, look, location and implementation seem to be the common denominator to any way-finding program,” says Aiglon. “However, every project is different, based on the architects’ design and recommendations. A lot of blue prints come with one or several possible recommended sign systems. Depending on the program’s specifications, the sign maker may be able to suggest multiple sign systems and solutions that will accommodate their customer’s preferences and budget concerns. SignPRO Systems curved modular frames offer the flexibility of a customizable system, while providing a consistent, unifying look throughout a whole building.