How to Use Wayfinding to Differentiate Your Business
Wayfinding refers to the different elements and touchstones that help people navigate the world around them. Wayfinding includes traffic signals on the road, but also interior signage in hospitals and shopping malls. When you visit a department store or a hotel, you use wayfinding to find key areas and reach your shopping or check-in goals.
It’s not uncommon to ignore different wayfinding elements until you need them. If you have even been lost on a college campus or couldn’t find a section in a stadium, then you experienced poor wayfinding. As a business owner, your main goal is to guide customers around your location without creating confusing or frustrating experiences. This is often easier said than done.
Learn how you can use wayfinding to differentiate your business – whether you are helping your brand stand out or bringing in customers with a positive navigational experience.
Guide Customers With Wayfinding Signage
The wayfinding investments you make in your business often create the first impression for new customers. A well-lit parking lot can make drivers feel safe, while clear signage tells them where to park and how to navigate around your lot. Even if your business is trying to attract foot traffic, you can create a positive first impression with signage guiding customers to the correct entrance and different departments within.
Many people in the United States suffer from neophobia or the fear of trying new things and visiting new places. For most people, this fear isn’t a major issue. They might be more inclined to favor their favorite stores or worry about navigating their way around a new place. Your wayfinding can assure customers that your business is safe for them – and that they made the right decision choosing to visit your business.
For example, when our client Arthrex wanted to build a six-story office building (including a nine-floor parking garage) they needed multiple wayfinding elements to guide visiting clients and potential employees. The firm created an 80-room private hotel, a medical clinic, and a wellness center. Wayfinding helps employees and visitors easily navigate around the Arthrex campus and feel confident in the brand.
Wayfinding is important whether you operate a multinational surgical manufacturing company or recently opened restaurant that needs to guide customers to the bathrooms. The signage you choose makes people feel better about where they are going and what they will find when they get there.
Use Wayfinding Design to Bring Your Brand to Life
Instead of treating wayfinding like a burden to your design process, consider the branding benefits that come with these navigational elements. Every choice you make as a business owner reflects your brand and business, from the landscaping outside your front door to the style of your business cards. The wayfinding you create is no different. You can use wayfinding to introduce customers to your brand or enhance their overall understanding and experience.
When LEGOLAND Beach Resort first opened, the hotel operators approached our team for help with wayfinding. The signage had to appeal to both kids and adults, which means the lettering needed to be large and the font easy to read. With our signage designs, kids can rush to different coves, whether they are meeting the Ocean King or swimming with mermaids. Parents can also keep an eye on their kids, wherever they run off to.
We also created signage guiding guests to their rooms. Each floor has a unique experience and theme. Explorers can enjoy signs that look like sand-covered relics, without getting confused as to the direction they need to go.
Wayfinding is a key part of your experience and your brand. Without an engaging design, you can pull people out of the world you are trying to create.
Get Creative With Wayfinding Graphics
Some businesses confuse wayfinding with street signage. They associate these directional elements with stop signs and other carefully regulated indicators. While these signs are one aspect of wayfinding, there is so much more to the whole practice. As you brainstorm ways to guide your employees and customers, tap into the same creativity that helped you design your initial logo and brand colors. What textures, fonts, and graphics can you use to make your signage more engaging and noticeable?
Consider the student experience at The Nova Southeastern University Tampa Regional Campus. This is a 325,000 square-foot facility that welcomes eager learners and educators from across the area. Our team designed more than 1,700 interior signs, custom architectural illuminated exterior signs, and vehicular directions for staff and visitors.
The first day of school is nerve-racking whether you are a student starting out on a new career path or a seasoned educator. We knew we needed to create wayfinding options that help people quickly find their classrooms, while also instilling a sense of NSU pride. This is where branding meets value. The fonts and colors match the NSU brand (and the campus design elements) while standing out to attract the eye. This makes navigating the space easy and stress-free.
At the end of the day, your wayfinding is only valuable if people use it. If you create uninspired signs that your customers overlook, then you aren’t going to create a good brand experience. An engaging sign can catch the eye of everyone who goes by so they know exactly where they need to go.
Showcase Your Attention to Detail With Wayfinding
As a business owner, you use wayfinding to highlight the quality of your business. You can prove that you pay attention to your brand down to the smallest interior signs. You can show how you care about the navigational experience of customers when they visit your location. Your wayfinding reflects how much you care about your employees and your customers.
If you find that customers have a hard time finding their way, it may be time to update your wayfinding. Take steps to install guides that shine and help your business, not just directional signage that does the bare minimum without regard to your brand and customer experience.
If you need updated wayfinding signage, call the professionals at Creative Sign Designs. Request a consultation today and let us help you execute your vision.