The Basics of Wayfinding Signs

The Basics of Wayfinding Signs

One of the most important investments any retail owner will make is for signage. Signs are something we often take for granted; we simply expect them to be there! Yet, if you’re opening up a new space or sprucing up your old one, you know that purchasing signage means more than just slapping up a placard or two in a certain spot within your store, restaurant, or other location. Signage is an art or, perhaps, a science. It requires lots of thought and plenty of consultation with your shop fitting designer or team.

wayfinding signsWayfinding signs are especially important because they literally keep your customers on the right track. These signs tell them where to go and even where NOT to go. You’ll need a variety of wayfinding signs, especially if your store is large.

Wayfinding Signs Can Increase Sales

Listed below are the categories of wayfinding signs available to you:

Directional signs – These placards obviously point the way and often include arrows or other directions (right/left, up/down). They can point to items, departments, offices, etc. They should be well-placed in spots that are easy for all to see.

Destination or Department Signs – These designate a defined area such as “Delicatessen” or “Men’s Clothing”. They usually include large lettering and are often hung in high places so that customers can see them from afar and from various points within your space.

Aisle Signs – These are similar to department signs in that they tell customers what they can find on a particular aisle. These are essential in supermarkets and so-called “big box” stores (Target, Officeworks, Masters, etc.) where navigating can be difficult without specific directions. Aisle signs usually include an aisle number or letter and then a list of perhaps 6-10 items or categories of items that can be found on that aisle.

Orientation signs – These are more common in a large store or in a complex or stores, such as a shopping mall. This category would include items such as “You are Here” maps, which can be placed near lifts or escalators.

Regulatory signs – These often instruct customers as to places where they shouldn’t go. Common regulatory signs include “Do Not Enter”, “Staff Only”, “No Smoking” or “No Trespassing”. These signs can be easily overlooked when ordering signage, but are ultra-important. You’ll often need several of each if you operate a large establishment.

Event signs – These signs can lead you to special events such as sales in retail stores or perhaps important meetings or other events in places like catering facilities or office buildings. Think about these ahead of time so that you’re not using poster board and markers to make them. Instead, purchase some changeable event signs that you can use again and again.

Be sure your signs reflect your brand and are consistent with your design. Also be on the lookout for signs that your wayfinding signs aren’t working properly. If you hear customers say that they had difficulty finding something, got lost in your store, or spent 20 minutes looking for the toilets, it’s time to reexamine your signage. Don’t hesitate to ask your shop fitter for assistance. He’ll definitely lead you in the right direction!

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