I do not like SIGNS!
This is my first blog. Just wanted to be honest with you. Over time, I hope to share with you what I know and have learned about design and, more specifically signs and wayfinding. I have spent my career designing signs. And I learned a long time ago that I don’t like signs. This is me just being honest.
Our world is full of signs, directions, arrows – do this, don’t do that. It is difficult to look anywhere in the landscape and not see a sign. Unfortunately, signs are here to stay and are necessary to understand the environment around us.
However, I love WAYFINDING.
Don’t you sometimes suspect that WAYFINDING is just a fancy way of saying SIGNS? Wayfinding is much more than signs. It includes visual and architectural clues that lead you from here to there. When approaching a building, you look for a door to tell you where to enter. Once inside, you may look for an elevator or stairs to get you to your final destination. Unfortunately, sometimes a sign is even needed in these simple cases.
Is this the correct door to enter? Are these the elevators I should use?.
Our urban environments and buildings are only becoming more complicated, and wayfinding is needed to get us where we are going in a clear and simple manner. Its important that a first time visitor to your facility have a pleasant experience. If not, they will be hesitant to visit again. But wayfinding can often take the shape of something other than a sign – an awning over the front door, or an elevator door painted a more noticeable color. Wayfinding can include lighting, art, wall colors and simple architectural changes. These decisions need to be made with care and thoughtfulness. Where signs are needed, they too should be designed with the same care.
Signs are here to stay!
But take heart. Sometimes there are creative wayfinding solutions that will provide a good experience for you and your users, without using a sign.