Like much of every day life, signage is often taken for granted. Good signage in particular would be noticeable by its absence from our public spaces, yet its presence is something upon which, although we rely upon much of the time, we are less than conscious of the impact it makes on our day-to-day lives.
Good ‘Wayfinding’, to use the terminology chosen by specialists in our field, is much more than putting a few signs up at various locations within a space or building. Indeed it is a well considered process involving various studies of the space, the anticipated traffic (pedestrian or otherwise), the movement within that space, the destinations and the overall purpose.
Wayfinding signage should be clearly visible as well as consistent in style and form to ensure a unified message. It should be attractive as well as clearly legible, while the content should be in a language that is easily understandable by all and free from specialist jargon.
Such signage, as is found in our airports, bus stations, offices, railway stations or shopping centres does much more than assist passenger or public navigation.
The next time you are heading off on holiday, take a moment to imagine just how difficult and stressful it would be to find your departure gate or passport control in the absence of wayfinding signs and how much less time you’d have available to relax browsing in the Duty Free retail area or enjoying a quiet pre-flight aperitif in the bar!
By : Gael Davidson
Better wayfinding means improving the ease with which people can navigate themselves to, from and within an interchange facility or zone. Good wayfinding includes legible, well-designed spaces; signing and information when and where passengers need it; effective use of surface treatments, materials and lighting; and environmental interventions such as public art combining to create pathways, landmarks and destinations.
Wayfinding should be complementary to the layout of the interchange facility or zone, minimising the need for signing.